Funeral arrangements are now set for a Forest Acres police officer who was shot and killed by a fleeing suspect earlier this week.
Richland County officials announced that a Mass for 32-year-old Officer Gregory Alia will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, October 3 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Columbia. The church’s address is 3600 Devine Street in Columbia’s Shandon region southeast of downtown.
Gov. Nikki Haley has ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff on Saturday to coincide with the funeral.
Alia was shot and killed Wednesday morning after responding to a suspicious person call at the Richland Mall in Forest Acres. The seven-year law enforcement veteran leaves behind his wife, a newborn, and both his parents.
Forest Acres Police Chief Gene Sealy said Officer Alia began his career with the department in 2008. Alia was a Columbia native, graduating from Richland Northeast High School and the University of South Carolina, where he was a member of Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity. He was also an Eagle Scout.
A GoFundMe page established for Alia’s wife Kassy and son Sal has already raised more than $144,000. Members of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity started the GoFundMe page within hours of learning about Alia’s killing.
Alia’s widow thanked supporters in a message posted to the page. “My husband was kind. He was warm. He was hilarious. He was patient. He was forgiving. He was loyal. He was just. He was honest. He was anything and everything you could hope to find in one single person. He was my everything.
“The contributions on the gofundme account are breathtaking. How proud my husband would be of all of the good and generosity being shown to support Sal and I.”
Donations to help the family can also be made at any First Citizens Bank in South Carolina in the name of Law Enforcement Chaplains for South Carolina Emergency Fund; attention Alia Family. All proceeds will go directly to Kassy and Sal.
Alia’s former patrol car has been placed in front of the Forest Acres Police headquarters as a temporary memorial. Hundreds of residents and even fellow law enforcement officers have paid their respects and left their own makeshift memorials in the officer’s honor.
Chief Sealy said the death leaves a large void in the Forest Acres Police Department family because Alia had so positively impacted everyone he worked with and the community in so many ways. Chief Sealy stated that Greg was a man of God who cared for his wife Kassy, his newborn son Sal, his parents, and his department; he did so much for so many people and will be missed more than words can say.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott took to the U.S. Senate floor Thursday to pay tribute to Alia. “He knew that his place in the world was making sure that his town, his city, our state, and our nation was safer because he put on the uniform,” Scott said in the six-minute floor speech.
The suspect 34-year-old Jarvis Hall waived his bond hearing in magistrate’s court on Thursday and remains in jail. However, state law only allows a circuit judge to set bond in murder cases regardless.
Hall is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He had a prior conviction of refusing to stop for an officer’s command last month, but court records show he did not appear in court and was tried in absentia.