HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Two communities are reeling after losing two law enforcement officers under similar circumstances.
Henry County Police Officer Paramhans Desai and Jackson County Deputy Lena Marshall died within hours of each other. They were both shot in the line of duty last week as they responded to separate domestic calls.
These cases are putting a spotlight on the dangers of the job when police respond to domestic violence situations.
The deadly shootings
According to Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum, Marshall responded to a scene on Highway 124 in Hoschton Friday night around 9:20 p.m. When the deputies arrived, the suspect fired shots, hitting Marshall, according to Mangum.
She was taken to the hospital for her injuries. Three days later, she was dead. Mangum said Marshall died at 3:50 p.m.
They day before in Henry County, Desai was responding to a home area of Keys Ferry Road and Floresta Drive in McDonough when he was shot after shortly arriving. Desai was taken to Grady Medical Center in critical condition. He also died Monday. Desai died with his family by his side at 9:55 p.m., according to the police department.
Deputy Marshall and Officer Desai are remembered for their grit, their strength, and their commitment to their community.
Dangerous domestic violence calls
A nationally renowned public safety expert with ties to Atlanta said both shootings highlight the need for police reform.
"What comes in as a domestic violence for arguing, by the time police get there, you never know what it may have escalated to," Dr. Cedrick Alexander said.
The former Dekalb County police chief added that police officers respond to these dangerous situations every day.
"Calls for service around domestic violence have been the leading cause of death and injuries for police officers before COVID. But still to this day, in this environment, domestic violence is one of those very challenging and dangerous calls our police officers may have to respond to," he said.
The danger of these calls highlight the need for police reform in the country - specifically around domestic violence issues.
'She lost her life doing what she loved.'
Friends who knew Lena Marshall, who went by Nicole, said she was a mom who loved her three children. Randy, who was the Lawrenceville Police Chief for more than three decades, and his wife Wanda, said Marshall's mother was also in law enforcement, so it ran in her blood.
"She lost her life doing what she loved," Wanda said.
"She didn't like sitting behind the desk," recalled Wanda. "She's felt the need to serve and protect out on the streets and try to make a difference so this is just heartbreaking."
'He made a world of a difference.'
Henry County Police Chief Mark Amerman described Desai is a man who truly loved his job. He said Desai has been in law enforcement since 2004 and started in corrections.
He described Desai as an officer who talked to everyone the same way - whether he was going to arrest them or help them.
"I have never ever heard anyone say anything negative about him. Ever. He truly loved his job. And he truly loved serving his community," he said.
A woman who called police back in October to do a welfare check on her friend said Officer Desai was the person who responded.
"I met him out there. We had found she passed away in her home. He was so kind to me," Jana Beasley said while holding back tears. "His kindness made things better."
"He made a world of a difference," she added.
Desai is still making a difference after his death. The Henry County Police Department said he continues to serve by donating multiple organs which will save numerous lives.
Desai has two sons who are ages 8 and 11.
Where the cases stand
Jordan Jackson, who is accused of killing Desai, was found in Riverdale on Tuesday. Police also said Jackson was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and is dead.
Clayton County Police said several agencies, including Henry County Sheriff's Office, Georgia State Patrol, and U.S. Marshals responded to the location just before 8 p.m.
Charges in this case have been upgraded to murder, according to authorities. They are following numerous leads.
New photos were released Tuesday of Jordan from Desai's body camera just moments before he was shot.
When authorities responded to the domestic call, a second deputy who was with Marshall fired back at the suspect. The sheriff said the suspect died. She was later identified 43-year-oild Jessica Worsham.
Donations to the families of the fallen law enforcement officers
For Marshall, a benefit fund has been set up at the Northeast Georgia Bank, 1775 Old Pendergrass Road, Jefferson, Georgia. Donations can be made at any Northeast Georgia Bank, Sheriff Mangum said.
The Henry County Police said donations to Desai's family came be made through the “Ralph Easterwood Angel Wings for Warriors Benevolence Fund." The Ralph Easterwood Angel Wings for Warriors Benevolence Fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organized for the sole purpose of helping the families of sworn, non-sworn and civilian employees, of all first responders. Donations will also be accepted at the Henry County Police Department located at 108 South Zack Hinton Parkway McDonough, GA 30253, or can be sent via Cash App to: $Wings4Warriors