Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A southern Kentucky police officer's death is being felt across the state.
Police say retired Monroe County Sheriff Herbert Proffitt, 82, was shot and killed in his drive way in Monroe County Tuesday.
Detectives believe this may be a case of revenge several decades later.
"It's just a terrible situation," Reed Moore.
Friends are still trying to make sense of what happened to 82-year-old Herbert Proffitt Tuesday afternoon at his Tompkinsville, Kentucky home.
Proffitt was a long-time public servant -- starting in the U.S. Army, continuing as the Monroe County Sheriff, then as the Tompkinsville Police Chief, and even a court bailiff.
The 82-year-old just retired three years ago.
"He was a really compassionate man. If he had to arrest you, he treated you with dignity and respect," Moore said.
That's something he didn't get in return.
He was killed during a drive-by shooting, but police say it wasn't random.
Proffitt was gunned down outside his home, investigators say, by Charles Hammer, 81.
Records indicate Proffitt had arrested Hammer several times in the 1980's.
"They deal with a segment of society, some of which are pretty bad. Sometimes you make those bad people, pretty mad," Moore said.
Flags fly at half staff in Tompkinsville, where Proffitt's son is the Mayor.
His impact is also being right here in Louisville, where his body was embalmed before returning back to Nelson County.
"What we're doing in paying a tribute. We're remembering how this officer lived, we don't want to look at how he died," Prospect Police Lieutenant Todd Shaw said.
Shaw is one of nearly a dozen officers who personally chose to escort Proffitt's body home.
"He put almost 50 years in serving the community and it was his time to be part of the community and to lay back and enjoy life and in this case unfortunately it didn't happen," Shaw said.
Proffitt's visitation and funeral have been postponed indefinitely due to a medical emergency involving his wife.