Students, Staff Mourn Guard Shot at Hall High School

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Halls, Knox County (WVLT) - School officials decided to continue with class today at halls, but did give students the option of going home if they wanted.

"He laughed, had a big smile," says Mary Iroff, from Knox County Schools Student Assistive Services.

"Even though he is a cop and is hard on some things he is a very caring guy," says Jessica Sivley, a senior at Halls High.

"Everybody liked him. He was always happy, was never down," says Chris Field, a senior at Halls.

For those that knew him, there aren't enough kind words to describe Russell Kocur.

A man the Halls High School family, and halls community refer to not as an officer, but as a dear friend.

"This is not someone they were scared of, it was someone they respected and considered part of their family," says Iroff.

Kocur seemed to have a common reputation between the students we talked with.

"He sort of will get you out of trouble," says Sivley.

"Kept me out of a lot of trouble," says Field.

Not because he would let them get away with things, but because he encouraged them.

"Everytime I got sent to the office he would pat me on the back and tell me to do better," Chris says.

Whether the students decided to stay at school or go home many of them wore black ribbons as an outward expression of their grief, grief that extends beyond the schoolyard.

"He was in here yesterday," Mary Knott says Kocur was a regular here at Weigel's.

"We laughed at each other ya know, and would holler bye and go on to the car"

He visited almost everyday. Most of the time they joked around, more serious talks centered around the children.

"He loved the kids," Mary says.

Happy memories that help hold up a very hurt community.

Counselors and school psychologists are helping students work through Mr. Kocur's death.

School officials say they will be on hand as long as students need to talk.

Thursday night there will be a community wide memorial service at Beaver Dam Baptist Church across from Halls High School.

It starts at seven o'clock.