Dr. L. LaSimba M. Gray Jr., pastor emeritus of New Sardis Baptist Church, and his wife, Carol Gray, recently directed a letter of commendation to Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis regarding the actions of several Memphis Police Department officers.
The essence of that letter is reflected here as a commentary.
Last Saturday (Dec. 2), the officers attended a funeral service at New Sardis for victims of a recent shooting. It was a follow-up to action taken earlier.
“This was obviously done out of the goodness of their hearts and a desire to do something to ease the pain and make a difference,” Dr. Gray said, putting the letter of commendation into context. “They were not ordered.”
The letter by the Grays noted the actions of Lt. Byron Hardaway and officers Cody Sutton, Makayla Haslett, Kendrick Miller, Brandon Barnes, Jason Beauregard, Carey Owen and Michael Pointer.
“Too often you only hear from the community when there are negative complaints. However, in this case a heroic and lifesaving response compels us to say ‘thank you’ to these officers.
“A few days ago, there was a tragic shooting that took place in Memphis, where three women and one teenager was shot. … (The) women unfortunately passed away. The teen, Taylor Bobo, after being shot six times, lived! It is our understanding that the young teen lived due to the heroic actions of Lt. Byron Hardaway and several of his officers from the Raines Station (precinct), who were at the scene after the shooting
“These (officers), from what we understand, immediately went into emergency medical action to help save the life of the young teen who had been shot several times and was in medical distress, bleeding profusely. They were able to lessen the bleeding, thus saving her life until the emergency medical paramedics arrived on the scene.
“Today, December 2, 2023, those same officers entered New Sardis Baptist Church Sanctuary with the family at the funeral service for the three ladies who were slain during that incident! Taylor, with assistance, also attended the service. The officers not only attended, but served as pallbearers.
“After the service, they accompanied the family and friends to the cemetery for burial. They kindly assisted Taylor, as her mobility is impaired due to the leg injury. They gathered around the cart that was carrying Taylor to the cemetery as they encouraged her, consoled her, and treated her with so much love and kindness!
“These officers went above and beyond the call of duty and are indeed a credit to their profession. Their presence today was comforting and assuring to all who attended. They carried themselves so humbly, yet, with so much dignity!
“God bless Lt. Byron Hardaway and his carrying men from Raines Station!!!”