Retired Georgia Sheriff's Deputy Killed While Protecting Store Employee During Armed Robbery

A retired Georgia sheriff's office deputy was killed this week after being shot while attempting to stop an armed robbery at an auto parts store, police say.

Felix Cosme, 63, of Dacula, was working at O'Reilly's Auto Parts store at 2786 Hamilton Mill Road in Buford when he tried to pull his weapon to stop a man who entered the store and demanded a female employee open the cash register. Cosme died at the scene.

The victim was a sergeant for the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office from April 2006 to November 2015 and had worked in jail administration, 11Alive reported.

North Precinct police officers responded to a shooting call at the store at roughly 7:45 p.m. They found the victim's body inside, and described the case as a robbery-attempt-turned-homicide. The suspect fled in a vehicle and police said he was last seen driving towards Interstate 85. The manhunt remains ongoing.

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"Cosme died a hero's death as he attempted to protect himself and a female co-worker from a violent criminal with no regard for human life," the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office said in a statement yesterday. "We extend our thanks to our brothers and sisters with Gwinnett County Police who are working long hours to locate the suspect(s) responsible for this horrific crime."

According to investigators, a female employee had been helping a customer outside when she spotted a black male inside a vehicle in the parking lot. The man followed her into the shop and asked her to open the cash drawer. After seeing the encounter, Cosme tried to pull his gun.

"It is still unclear if this crime is related to any other events in the area or in the past," police said in a media release. "A specific description of the suspect and his vehicle are still being pursued. Please keep our partners at the sheriff's office in your thoughts as they mourn his loss."

The police homicide unit, robbery unit and gang unit are now spearheading a hunt for the suspect, alongside the local district attorney's office. No suspect information was released by officials.

Deputy Shannon Volkodav, of the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office, told CBS46: "Today is a very sad day for all of us and certainly anyone who knew sergeant Cosme is heartbroken."

"Once a cop, always a cop...your desire to serve and to protect doesn't retire when you do, and this is a great example of that. Sergeant Cosme died a hero. His actions were heroic."

Anyone with information about the case can reach authorities at 770-513-5300. An anonymous tip line is available at 404-577-8477 or stopcrimeATL.com, the sheriff's office said. An image of Sgt. Cosme in uniform was released to the media and public via police social media yesterday.

Sgt. Felix Cosme
Sgt. Felix Cosme, 63, of Dracula, was working at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts store at 2786 Hamilton Mill Road in Buford. The victim was a sergeant for the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office from April 2006 to November 2015 and previously worked in jail administration. Gwinnett County PD
Retired Georgia Sheriff's Deputy Killed While Protecting Store Employee During Armed Robbery | News