RIVERDALE — His favorite color was pink, he had an infectious smile and love for everyone he met.
Clayton County Police Officer Armando Mendoza, 22, was remembered for all those things and more during his Celebration of Life Ceremony Monday afternoon at the Light of Joy Church in Riverdale.
Mendoza’s End of Watch came on April 19, following a car accident on Tara Boulevard.
Friends called him a breath of fresh air and someone who enjoyed a challenge, practiced honesty, dedication, loyalty and professionalism in everything he did.
“He left a smile on the faces of everyone he met,” said friend Braden Salyers. “He was one of a kind.
Mendoza’s father called his son his “greatest gift.”
Field Training Officer Robert Santos said the pair quickly bonded, calling him a “rare breed.”
“He was a happy and humble man,” Santos said, “who showed he wanted to do the job.”
CCPD Chief Kevin Roberts said Mendoza was an “angel among us.”
“Every officer should strive to be like Officer Mendoza,” he said. “He will continue to watch over fellow officers and the Clayton County community.”
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill talked about the radio transmission codes officers learn in training, comparing prayer to the strongest two-way radio available.
“He put out a 63 that went to the supreme dispatcher of the universe and angelic units were dispatched,” Hill said. “Their response time was less than a twinkle of the eye. He’s a patrol angel for the Lord now.”
Code 63 is a call for officer in trouble.
Board of Commission Chair Jeff Turner said he saw Mendoza as truly somebody special, giving God praise for the “incredible man.”
“We are your family,” Turner said to Mendoza’s family. “Never hesitate to call on us.”
Turner presented a proclamation to the family honoring the life and memory of Officer Mendoza, adding that he was the “type of officer this county and country needs.”
Rev. Jim Lindskoog offered the closing eulogy during Monday’s service. He said Officer Mendoza would have liked that the community and law enforcement came together to share in a bond.
“I think we gathered here together today to think about what this means for all of us,” he said. “Can we live a life of love that he did. He didn’t just talk about love, he was love. He made other people love themselves; that’s the kind of man he was.”
Lindskoog encouraged everyone to let go of things getting in their way and to care about people, to choose to make a difference in the lives of others and to live a life of love and passion.
“If we do that, Armando’s going to be looking down on us saying ‘well done,’” he said.
ATLANTA — A Clayton County resident has been arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit.
Timothy Darryl Battle, 32, was taken into custody on April 19 and charged with one count of sexual exploitation of children (possession of child pornography).
According to the GBI, investigation into Battle’s online activity began following a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The tip alleged Battle was in “possession of a large number of images and videos depicting child pornography” via the internet.
GBI officials said the investigation led to obtaining a search warrant of Battle’s home in Clayton County which resulted in his arrest with the assistance of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office.
Battle remains in the Clayton County jail.
This investigation is part of the ongoing effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, housed within the GBI’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, to identify those involved in the child pornography trade.
The ICAC Program, created by the U.S. Department of Justice, was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims.
Anyone with information about other cases of child exploitation is asked to contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit at 404-270-8870.
Tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS (8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.
JONESBORO — Five Clayton County students from two high schools have graduated from the Model Atlanta Regional Commission’s youth leadership program.
Graduating students are Daniela Abarca and Lilian Huynh from Jonesboro High and Jayla Benson, Egheosase Odiase and As’Shaunte Walker from Morrow High.
“I commend the work and collaboration these young leaders put into the MARC program,” said Kerry Armstrong, ARC board chair. “The insights they bring to the challenges facing our region is refreshing, and make me feel optimistic about our future.”
MARC students explored real-world issues such as housing affordability, responsible water usage, and the impact of limited transportation options as part of the six-month program. They spoke with local changemakers about equity and resilience and offered their own reflections on ways we as a region can better serve our diverse population.
While the 2020-2021 program was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students were also invited to participate in self-guided activities such as a walkability audit of their neighborhoods.
“MARC really opened my eyes to the complexity of regional planning and how it can be used to improve people’s lives in myriad ways,” said Nicolas Miranda, a student at Harvester Christian Academy. “It’s very worthwhile if you want to learn why metro Atlanta has the problems it does and consider what we can do to alleviate them.”
The MARC program is accepting applications for the 2021-22 class through June 4.
The 2021-22 class is open to rising 10-11th graders who reside or attend school in the 10-county Atlanta region. The class meets once a month on Saturdays for six months starting in August. Initial sessions will be held online and transition to in-person as COVID-19 safety guidelines allows. The program is free to attend. Applications are due by June 4. For more information or to apply, visit www.atlantaregional.org/marc.