The city paused and saluted the fallen sergeant who chose to serve his country and his community.
Scores of citizens stood by Saturday morning as the roar of motorcycles and sirens serenaded Sergeant Kelvin Bernard Ansari. He survived and honorably served in Iraqi, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia for two decades in the U.S. Army, before joining Savannah Police Department a decade ago.
Ansari stood out in the Northwest Precinct where he showed compassion to the mentally ill; and protected the public housing residents. He was promoted and transferred to the Starland district less than a year ago. He trained the next generation of police officers and he publicly gave them a charge found in The Holy Bible, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
On May 11th, Ansari followed up with a young patrol officer who learned that someone was pistol-whipped and robbed after leaving the Boyz II Men Barber Shop on Bull Street. Ansari and Officer Douglas Thomas approached a vehicle in the parking lot and the man accused of committing the robbery fired a handgun at them.
The police scanner recorded the words that no one wants to say or to hear: “Metro officers’ down.”
Other recordings, found on the Internet and verified by a city source, describe what happened during the final minutes of Sgt. Ansari on Bull Street.
The Savannah dispatchers and the officers at the crime scene called for help. “EMS,’’ was yelled with urgency for medical help.
The calls were made once, twice, three times before officers took charge to get Ansari to the hospital. He was placed into the back of a police vehicle and an officer made “compressions” to keep him alive. The dispatcher spoke to Memorial Medical Center’s dispatcher. The medical officials agreed to meet the police vehicle at the door with a stretcher for Ansari, the scanner said. (https:// youtu.be/EtGUGZK75T8)
When the ambulance arrived at the parking lot on Bull Street, the medics treated Thomas and he was sent to the hospital to treat a leg wound. Within minutes from the double police shooting, Savannah police officers announced that they’d found the suspect who ran behind a house on 39th Street, the scanner said. Later, police, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and the scanner chatter reported that Edward Fuller III, 49, the alleged armed robbery suspect was in a nearby shed. He confronted the police with a handgun and he was shot at the scene and he later died at the hospital.
Hundreds of military veterans and law enforcement met Ansari’s hearse outside of Calvary Baptist Temple on Saturday morning in full uniform standing. Though compassionate, the honor guards remained stoic. Wearing white gloves, they balled their hands in fists, perhaps controlling their emotions publicly. Savannah police force, police from across the state and as far as Portland, Oregon and their wives and girlfriends responded to the call to pay honor to the fallen sergeant and to help his beloved wife Charlotte and their six children Kelvin Jr., Isiah, Danval, Michael, Asia and Niya, ranging from ages 5 to 25 years old.
“It’s a sad day in our community,” said Chatham County Sheriff John T. Wilcher foreshadowing many of the words Ansari’s coworkers would say later at the funeral. “We put a badge on to protect our community. We worry for our families and we all stand together. We all bleed red. … We don’t run from trouble. We’re ready to help.”
By all accounts, Ansari lived a life to serve. Savannah police, dispatchers and spouse and loves are hurting, said Chaplain Charles Roberson. Everyone there remembers the final five words about him. “He did not make it.”
Mayor Eddie Deloach, Officer Allen Childs, Lt. Gregory Mitchell and Police Chief Roy Minter encouraged Ansari’s family and their co-workers.
Some of the sweet moments: Ansari colored with his daughter. He mowed the lawn with his neighbors. He went to the waterpark with his family; and taught his child to ride a bike.
Born in Charlotte, N.C, Ansari was raised in Blakely, Ga. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Troy University and a Master of Arts degree from management and leadership from Weber State University.
The sum of his 50-years of life, Minter said, “Thanks for fighting the fight. Rest in peace Sgt. Ansari.”
Pastor Ricky Temple, his pastor of Overcoming by Faith Church Ministries, challenged the body to remember that Ansari was a righteous man, who would never be forgotten. … He did something that mattered.”
The police men and women collected their emotions and marched back into formation. Their spouses and loved ones looked on overhead on the church balcony. They say they pray harder for protection once they return to their regular shifts to protect the city.
The GBI is in charge of the investigation.