From left, Abbeville County Sheriff Ray Watson, Abbeville County Chief Magistrate Susan B. Gladden, Abbeville County Magistrate Judge Carolyn Brownlee, Calhoun Falls pastor Earl Wright and Calhoun Falls resident Charlie Mae Cade, stand for a moment of silence during a wreath-laying ceremony Monday outside the Law Enforcement Center. The ceremony was in memory of two county deputies who died during the Bixby shooting 10 years ago in Abbeville. (Matt Bruce | Index-Journal)
Dozens showed up Monday morning to pay tribute to a pair of fallen officers in Abbeville during a somber memorial of the much-publicized Bixby shootings.
The ceremony came one day after the 10-year anniversary of the grisly incident, which resulted in two Abbeville County officers — Deputy Danny "Danny Boy" Wilson and Magistrate's Constable Donnie Ouzts — being slain.
Officials described the shooting as one of the darkest hours in Abbeville's history, and indicated it has left a permanent wound etched into the town's consciousness. Attendees gathered around a shrine dedicated to Ouzts and Wilson in front of the Law Enforcement Center and prayed for some semblance of relief from tragic day a decade ago.
Nearly half of those in the crowd for Monday's wreath laying responded to the scene of the 2003 massacre. Abbeville County Sheriff Ray Watson, who took over as the county's top lawman in May, said he would continue having the memorial each year while he's in charge of the Abbeville County Sheriff's Office. Part of the day's tribute also included a visit to the officers' gravesite, where mourners from the ACSO laid flowers.
"This is a tough time of year to have this because it is the holiday season," Watson said. "So, if everybody will, please keep the officers and their families in your prayers over the holidays."
MORE IN TODAY'S INDEX-JOURNAL