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Classmates of fallen police officer hold balloon release ceremony

Balloon release for Officer Kennis Croom
Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 8:53 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A class reunion in Tuscaloosa started on a sad and somber note this week. Classmates of Kennis Croom, a Meridian, Mississippi police officer shot and killed in the line of duty on June 9, learned of his death a day before festivities were set to begin.

Dozens of graduates over the years from Paul W. Bryant High School gathered at Tuscaloosa’s Harmon Park for a Grand Class Reunion on June 11, but it was a former student not here who attracted the most attention.

“It’s just so sudden and sad. He meant a lot to everyone,” Ciera Anderson told WBRC.

Croom was a member of Bryant’s 2009 graduating class.

“Man he would go out of his way for people. That comes from his family, cause they’re some quality people,” explained his classmate Gary Woods.

No one was surprised Croom risked his life to help others. They honored his sacrifice with a balloon release ceremony.

“We do this in his honor, his memory, to let us know Kennis is a fallen hero. But he’ll forever be in the hearts of Paul W. Bryant High School,” expressed his friends and classmate John Epting.

They brought balloons in their school color of blue. Many of them looked forward to seeing Croom after years apart.

“We had just spoken with him like a couple of weeks ago and he had paid his dues to come,” Anderson added.

Classmates like Epting felt a ceremony allows them to grieve and support one another like Kennis would have liked.

“Kennis we love you, we bid you farewell. We release these balloons in your memory,” Epting told the crown as they released balloons.

Funeral plans for Croom have not been released yet.

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