Local law enforcement officers took watch overnight and provided an escort Thursday to a fallen Alabama deputy killed in the line of duty.
Madison "Skip" Nicholson, a retired deputy with 40 years of service with the Wilcox County Sheriff's Office in Alabama, was fatally shot Wednesday evening while responding to a domestic violence call in Yellow Bluff, Alabama, a small rural community 140 miles north of Pensacola.
Nicholson was shot in the neck and chest and airlifted to Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola for emergency treatment but succumbed to his injuries.
"We don't ever leave a deceased officer alone," said Mike Wood, public information officer with the Pensacola Police Department.
It was a sea of blue around Ascension Sacred Heart on Thursday afternoon as law enforcement from the Pensacola Police Department and the Escambia County Sheriff's Office gathered in procession to escort Nicholson's body back to Alabama following an autopsy.
According to Wilcox County Sheriff Earnest Evans, the suspect, 52-year-old Billy Bizzell, opened fire on Nicholson and Chief Deputy Trenton Gulley when they approached a residence in response to the call.
Bizzell also died during the shootout. Conflicting reports make it unclear whether Bizzell died from a deputy's bullet or if his fatal shot was self-inflicted. Gulley was wounded in the arm and later released from a medical facility in Thomasville, Alabama.
Nicholson worked in Wilcox County for four decades. He started out as a reserve deputy in 1981 and later became a constable. Most recently, Nicholson was a process server.
"He and I worked together for the last 30 years," Evans said. "He was an outgoing person. He knew everybody, and everybody knew him."
Law enforcement agencies in the region shared an outpouring of love and support for the slain deputy on social media. Dozens of officers turned out Thursday to send Nicolson back home.
"It's an honor for us to be able to provide an escort," Wood said.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Alabama deputy killed in shooting escorted home by Pensacola officers