Honoring Officer Cousette Graphic

Dozens of candles lit up Government Plaza in downtown Tuscaloosa Thursday evening, shining bright in memory of fallen Tuscaloosa Police Officer Dornell Cousette.

Officer Cousette was shot and killed while on duty Monday evening. People came together for a candlelight vigil at the plaza to pay respects and hear stories about him. Jason Hallman, Tuscaloosa Police chaplain, was the first to speak.

“He was a beloved family member, devoted officer, an exemplary role model, and a steadfast friend,” Hallman said.

He was joined by Interim Chief Mitt Tubbs, Sergeant Sebo Sanders, Cousette’s twin brother, one of Cousette’s cousins, and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox, who all shared personal stories of how Cousette touched their lives. Kelly Cousette, his cousin, recalled living with him in Birmingham while in college and how generous he was to everyone he met.

“It was always about helping people,” she said. “He thought he could save everybody. He believed that everyone was just innately good. The reality is that’s really who he is. He’s just an innately good-spirited, passionate person, and he’s definitely going to be missed.”

Everyone who spoke, spoke of Cousette’s good character. Sgt. Sanders first met Cousette 13 years ago when he came on to train. He recalled giving Cousette advice, and receiving it, and becoming more than just coworkers throughout the years.

“He was brave, had a heart like a lion,” he said. “Could not ask for a better person, and for this senseless crime incident to happen, not only I lost a coworker, I lost a friend. I think everyone lost a friend. So, as a community we’ve got to come together. We’ve got to come together and stop this violence.”

As people in the crowd began to light their candles and illuminate Government Plaza, Mayor Maddox spoke about remembering to focus on the light Cousette gave while he was alive.

“I’m here to raise my candle to heaven because Officer Cousette has shown the light of justice, the light of peace, and the light of hope,” Mayor Maddox said. “He has demonstrated that even in the cruelest of circumstances the darkness can be pierced by the light.”

But there will always be a little darkness where Cousette used to be.

“I’m gonna miss Dornell,” Sgt. Sanders said. “Little bro, I’m gonna miss you.”

A public funeral service will be held for Dornell Cousette Sunday, Sept. 22, at noon in the Shelton State Community College gymnasium. The service will air live on WVUA 23, our Facebook page, and here on our website under the “Watch” tab.



Categories: Local News