Antwan Toney

Antwan Toney

One year ago, Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney, along with other officers, responded to a call about a suspicious vehicle parked near Shiloh Middle School in unincorporated Snellville.

It was the last call Toney would ever respond to.

As Toney was approaching the vehicle police had received the call about, shots rang out and the officer was hit. Another officer who responded to the call, dragged Toney to safety.

Police later that day identified Tafahree Maynard as Toney’s shooter. Maynard, who was facing a murder charge for Toney’s death, was killed two days later in a confrontation with police who were attempting to arrest him behind a home in the Snellville area.

On Sunday, one year to the day after Toney’s death, his memory had not diminished in Gwinnett.

“Today marks one year since we lost Gwinnett County Police Officer Antwan Toney,” the Gwinnett Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Sunday. “The weight of our loss has not lessened nor has his absence gone unnoticed. His sacrifice was great. Please remember him today. And every day. We do.”

The Gwinnett County Police Department said it gathered with Toney’s family on Sunday to “remember and pay tribute” to the officer. The department also thanked the community for its continued remembrance of Toney and the support it has given in the wake of his death.

Toney’s death drew an emotional response from residents and law enforcement throughout Gwinnett, Georgia and the nation.

Then-Gov. Nathan Deal ordered flags across the state flown at half-mast in Toney’s honor while South Gwinnett High School’s football team added a sticker honoring the officer to its football team’s helmets.

Thousands of Gwinnett residents lined the route for Toney’s funeral procession from the Buford area to Peachtree Corners.

“(Antwan Toney was) someone with a strong character and a servant and guardian attitude and the ability to be as compassionate as possible but even tougher when he (wanted) to,” Gwinnett Police Chief Butch Ayers said at Toney’s funeral. “And he always did it with a smile, always. To his family — you did a great job, and for that, we are eternally thankful.”

Toney was later honored during a South Gwinnett football game against Grayson where officers from the precinct he was assigned to joined football players from both teams on the field before the game.

Even as recently as past summer, Toney’s memory continued to be honored.

On Memorial Day, his name was added to the Gwinnett County Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville.

He was also remembered at the annual First Responders Appreciation Day event at Mt. Sinai Baptist Church in June. Toney had participated in the first-ever appreciation event at the church in 2017.

“I can’t help but be a little emotional just to know there were officers that were right here in this place not even two years ago that were met with situations beyond their control and met eternity,” the Rev. Jonathan Flanigan told attendees at an appreciation ceremony near the end of this year’s event.

In September, Isaiah Pretlow, who had been identified as the getaway driver for Maynard after Toney was shot, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault on a peace officer, multiple counts of violation of the Gang Statute, hindering the apprehension of a criminal, tampering with evidence, fleeing and eluding, hit and run and other traffic charges.

Pretlow received a 30-year sentence, including 20 years to be served in confinement. Prosecutors said he apologized for his involvement in the circumstances leading up to Toney’s death when he entered his guilty plea.

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I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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