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Georgia corrections officers hold hands while praying during funeral services for corrections officer Sgt. Curtis Billue, Saturday, June 17, 2017 in McIntyre, Ga. Billue who was killed while transporting inmates was a hero who spent his career protecting other people, Georgia's top prison official said at the man's funeral. (Jason Vorhees/The Macon Telegraph via AP)
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Commissioner: Slain officer was a hero who protected others

Georgia corrections officers hold hands while praying during funeral services for corrections officer Sgt. Curtis Billue, Saturday, June 17, 2017 in McIntyre, Ga. Billue who was killed while transporting inmates was a hero who spent his career protecting other people, Georgia's top prison official said at the man's funeral. (Jason Vorhees/The Macon Telegraph via AP)

McINTYRE, Ga. (AP) — A corrections officer who was slain while transporting inmates was a hero who spent his career protecting other people, Georgia’s top prison official said at the man’s funeral.

Hundreds of mourners gathered Saturday in central Georgia to remember Sgt. Curtis Billue, one of two Georgia prison guards killed when two inmates escaped Tuesday from a prison transfer bus.

Law enforcement officers from around the state joined relatives and friends of Billue for his funeral at Wilkinson County High School in McIntyre. Billue was 58.

Billue’s casket was draped with an American flag, WSB-TV reported (http://2wsb.tv/2teEsDx ). He was remembered as a military veteran and devoted father of two sons.

“We know he served in many roles, but hero comes to mind. Curtis Billue gave his whole life to protecting and serving others,” Georgia Department of Corrections Commissioner Greg Dozier said, according to The Telegraph newspaper of Macon (http://bit.ly/2tePqJ9 ).

Authorities said Billue and Sgt. Christopher Monica, 42, were overpowered and shot with their own weapons. Escaped inmates Donnie Rowe and Ricky Dubose were captured Thursday in Tennessee.

Dozier has promised they “will be brought to justice swiftly for their heinous crime against our officers.”

Monica’s funeral is set for Tuesday in nearby Milledgeville.

Bruce Billue said his brother never hesitated to help someone in need.

“Curtis’ heart was engraved with service. He took all these position and tried to excel and make life better for others,” Bruce Billue said. “We will miss you, love you beyond words.”

By giving his own life, Curtis Billue may have saved other officers, Pastor Harold Banks said. He said the sergeant would want his loved ones to forgive the men who committed these “atrocious acts.”

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