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Fallen deputy honored in Jackson County


MARIANNA — A Jackson County deputy killed in the line of duty in 2007 was honored Thursday. 

Harold “Mike” Altman was on patrol the night of Jan. 30, 2007, near then-Sheriff John McDaniel’s house and was the first to respond that night to a call for help from McDaniel’s wife, Mellie.

When Altman arrived at the McDaniel house, he was shot down by Lionel Sands and Daniel Brown, the two men who had followed Mellie McDaniel home and killed her. Moments later, Sheriff John McDaniel and several other officers arrived and during a gun battle Sands and Brown were killed.

Altman’s sacrifice that night was recognized Thursday at the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Behind Closed Doors, 2013 Rural Training Institute at Chipola College in Marianna. The institute gave a special presentation, the first of its kind, to Altman’s mother and father, Madeline and Harold Altman.

Jackson County Sheriff Lou Roberts made the presentation, telling them every law enforcement officer recognizes that at any moment they, too, may be asked to make the ultimate sacrifice.

“He was one of the most caring people I’ve ever known,” Roberts said. “He had a real compassion for people.”

Madeline Altman said her son died “doing what he loved best.”

After the ceremony, she said Deputy Altman would call her every night after work and tell her about her day.

“He wasn’t about locking people up,” she said. “He was about helping people.”

Deputy Altman will be honored again in a memorial May 24 at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

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