CHATSWORTH, Ga. — The past few days “have been really emotional,” Murray County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jimmy Davenport said.

“We’ve lost a valued member of the Murray County Sheriff’s Office family,” he said. “There is a hole in all of our hearts.”

Michaela Elizabeth Smith, 26, a detention officer at the Murray County Jail, passed away Wednesday. She was hospitalized after a training exercise involving pepper spray a few days earlier.

“It’s a tragic situation,” Davenport said. “I don’t know all the details, and I don’t want to speculate or say anything more until we have more facts.”

Davenport said the Murray County Coroner’s Office is investigating the death and officials are waiting on the autopsy.

Davenport said that although Smith had only been with the department about six months, she had impressed her co-workers.

“From all accounts, she was a rising star,” he said. “I’ve heard nothing but exceptional things about her from her supervisors. She loved law enforcement. She loved working with the sheriff’s office, and she was very much respected in the sheriff’s office. She served Murray County well, and she won’t be forgotten.”

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