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TX Church Overflows With Mourners At Slain Officer's Funeral

TX Church Overflows With Mourners At Slain Officer's Funeral

Arlington Police Officer Jillian Michelle Smith

Fort Worth Star-Telegram via YellowBrix

January 05, 2011

ARLINGTON — God has a plan, Ruby Odom told the mourners at Mount Olive Baptist Church on Tuesday morning.

“God has his own timing,” said Odom, the wife of former Arlington Mayor Elzie Odom.

It may not be clear why 24-year-old church member Jillian Michelle Smith was taken away as she was, Odom said.

“The things God has planned may not happen right away,” she said. “But we need not be anxious or in despair. Wait for it — it will surely come.”

Smith, a rookie Arlington police officer, was killed Dec. 28 while answering a call from a woman who needed help.

On Tuesday her fellow officers filled about a third of the balcony of the church, near the place where Smith often sat.

“We will miss that sweet face in the southeast corner of our balcony,” Odom said.

The sanctuary was filled and overflow seats were set up in the gymnasium and outside. Among the mourners were elected officials and police chiefs from throughout the Metroplex, as well as officers from across the state. Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck was there, as were Fort Worth Police Chief Jeff Halstead and Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

‘A saint’

The church’s pastor, the Rev. James Thompson Jr., said that before Smith was a police officer, she was a Christian who became a “saint in the eyes of the Lord.”

“It’s been brought to everyone’s attention that we lost a police officer,” Thompson said. "And I have to thank everyone at the Arlington Police Department, because they have done everything for the family that they could have done.

“But as a preacher, I have to put this in its proper perspective. When you die as a saint, it’s a higher priority than dying as a police officer. Precious in the sight of the Lord, is the death of his saints.”

Fulfilling a dream

Smith graduated cum laude from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. She fulfilled her lifelong dream of graduating from the Arlington Police Academy in August, and swore to protect the lives of the city’s residents.

While answering a low-priority call, Smith was shot by Barnes Samuel Nettles, who also shot and killed Kimberly Carter, 29, police have said.

Carter was supposed to be alone with her 11-year-old daughter. But moments after Smith arrived at the apartment, Nettles returned with a gun and fired in the girl’s direction. According to authorities, Smith placed herself in the line of fire while the girl ran to another apartment and survived.

‘All-American girl’

Police officers stood at attention during a procession to the cemetery. The police procession took about an hour to go from the church in the 300 block of West Sanford Street to Moore Memorial Gardens, 1219 N. Davis St., only a few blocks away.

Amid the officers standing near her grave, Arlington Police Chief Theron Bowman gave her parents the American flag that was draped over her coffin.

On Monday, during a vigil, Bowman called Smith an “all-American girl” who achieved her dream of being an Arlington police officer.

On Tuesday, Bowman said to her family, “May this flag serve as a constant reminder of officer Smith’s devotion.”


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  • Sfa_iv_max50

    revCCBeasley

    over 3 years ago

    2944 Comments

    RIP. My Sister in Christ I know that you are in a better place. I pray for the community and family as they grip this time in their lives witout the love one.

  • Pentagon_from_our_roof_terrace_2_max50

    Eleni

    over 3 years ago

    9128 Comments

    This is the first time I've seen a mention of her parents... they're not mentioned in her ODMP profile.

    I'm glad she was so well-remembered by her community.

    Rest in Peac, Officer Smith.

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50

    Gombino

    over 3 years ago

    2658 Comments

    Rest in Peace, Sister. My prayers for your family and co-workers.

  • Telecommunicator_rusch_max50

    PGPD911

    over 3 years ago

    6672 Comments

    Taken way before her time, so young and eager to do the job she loved since she was a child. Rest in peace Officer Smith knowing you died doing what you dreamed of... only wish you had more time on this Earth.

  • Flags_and_stars_max50

    djs2v

    over 3 years ago

    5628 Comments

    RIP

  • Uss_rhode_island_max50

    Bubblehead69

    over 3 years ago

    84 Comments

    RIP Hero

  • Img_0338_max50

    BklynsFinest347

    over 3 years ago

    2016 Comments

    RIP Sister

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    over 3 years ago

    16734 Comments

    RIP

  • Screen_shot_2011-04-10_at_8

    T_9

    over 3 years ago

    5668 Comments

    Rest now sister. You are in the arms of the Lord. Please watch over us as we continue to watch over others.

  • Policememorial---a_max50

    Collegecop_WA

    over 3 years ago

    2380 Comments

    Amen Brother Williams. While it is sad to bear the loss of this fellow officer it is heartwarming to know she is in a far better place and with her Savior.

  • Gear_max50

    brandan86

    over 3 years ago

    98 Comments

    RIP Officer.

  • Dolphins_fantasy_max50

    dolphinblue

    over 3 years ago

    42844 Comments

    R.I. P.

  • Img_1050_max50

    Irishcop1961

    over 3 years ago

    46054 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Smith. Thank you for your service.

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50

    USLawman1983

    over 3 years ago

    1572 Comments

    So tragic. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, agency, church and community.

  • 1979_max50

    Robocop33

    over 3 years ago

    14600 Comments

    RIP Officer Smith. You will not be forgotten and youor memory will live on in all LE.

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