Susan Bass, Dixie Brookins listen as Clayton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steven Teske reads a proclamation in honor of slain Clayton County police Officer Sean Callahan to Chief Greg Porter. (Staff Photo: Kathy Jefcoats)
JONESBORO — When Clayton County Police Officer Sean Callahan answered a domestic violence call at a Stockbridge motel Dec. 17, 2012, he didn’t question his own safety — that wasn’t his job.
Callahan’s job was to serve and to protect. As a trained law enforcement officer, Callahan no doubt knew how dangerous a domestic violence call could be. He probably expected to find a perpetrator and a victim.
Instead, he found a pair of convicted felons — one of whom was newly released from prison after 15 years for aggravated assault — prepared to team up against Callahan and his partner, Officer Waymondo Brown, said investigators.
While Callahan and Brown tried to take Tremaine and Lisa Lebis into custody, Tremaine Lebis broke free and ran around the building. When Callahan gave chase, Lebis shot him, said police. Callahan, 24, died the next day.
Brown returned fire, killing Tremaine Lebis.
Lisa Lebis, too, fought with officers, according to testimony during a subsequent court hearing. She has been indicted and is in Clayton County Jail on 16 felonies, including murder.
For his unquestioning bravery and heroism in the face of danger, Callahan was honored posthumously by Georgia Commission of Family Violence. The proclamation was presented to Clayton County police Chief Greg Porter Wednesday by Clayton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge Steven Teske. Teske was accompanied by Clayton County Coalition Against Family Violence representatives Susan Bass and Dixie Brookins.
In presenting the proclamation, Teske first gave praise to the Clayton County Police Department with the disclaimer that his son is a member of the force.
“I truly believe I am standing before the finest police department in the state of Georgia,” he said. “These officers are dedicated and passionate about their jobs.”
Teske said he cried when he saw newspaper photos of Callahan’s mother, Darlene Rogers, in the days after his death.
“She cried as the police officers saluted her,” said Teske. “How can you not cry, seeing the pain in her face? Knowing what she went through every time he left home for his shift, not knowing if he would make it home?”
He also announced the Clayton County Coalition Against Family Violence was named the 2013 Task Force of the Year.
“This is the finest domestic violence task force in the state,” he said. “Susan Bass is diligent and has worked hard as a victims advocate. Victims deserve to be heard in the courtroom and Susan orchestrated that and made the Clayton program a model for the state.”
Teske said about half of domestic violence calls turn violent.
“A domestic violence call is the most frightening experience for a law enforcement officer,” he said.
Porter said he appreciated the efforts to keep Callahan’s memory alive.
“I thank you for supporting the legacy of Sean Callahan,” he said.
Callahan is the first Clayton County police officer to die by gunfire in the line of duty and was the second countywide officer to die in less than 18 months. Clayton County sheriff’s Deputy Rick Daly, 55, was shot and killed July 20, 2011.
Porter led a remembrance ceremony honoring Callahan last month on the first anniversary of the shooting.