Autopsy Results Reveal Cause of Death for Macon SWAT Commander
The Macon Police Department announced on Monday that Macon's SWAT commander had died over the weekend as the result of a heart attack.
Mark Cotton, 49, was found dead at the department's training center on Sunday night. In addition to being Macon's SWAT commander, Cotton also ran the training facility. Macon Police Chief, Mike Burns held a news conference where he stated the results.
“We had his autopsy today,” he said. “The results came back (and) said that even though that Mark was in excellent physical condition. He had an enlarged heart that resulted in a cardiac event.”
Now family and friends are coming to grips with the lieutenant’s sudden death.
"It's really hard for him to die, for me," Cotton’s 8-year-old daughter, Celia Cotton, said.
Maintaining composure while holding her dad’s badge in her hands, she recalled the man she would see out of uniform.
"I think it was really nice that he was able to come to lunch with me like once a week and sometimes he would take off work just to be with me," she said.
Cotton was Director of the Macon Police Training Academy and a SWAT Commander for the department. He started on the force 28 years ago after graduating from Auburn University with a degree in Criminal Justice.
Bibb County Sheriff, David Davis, said Cotton was a good friend to law enforcement personnel.
"He was a real nice guy,” Davis said. “He was a very intense and very dedicated to his craft. He was very physically fit and stayed working out a lot all the time. So he really cared about his craft and really wanted to keep himself in good shape for his job."
Cotton was also a board member of the Georgia Tactical Officers Association. An organization that assists officers and agencies in Georgia in regards to tactical operations research, training and development. Cotton was responsible for bringing the association’s yearly statewide conference to Macon.
The association's website acknowledges Cotton's death by writing:
"It is with a sad, heavy heart that we announce the passing of Lt. Mark Cotton, Macon Police Department. Mark has been a very active GTOA member for years and has served as an Executive Board Member for the last 3 years. Mark was instrumental in getting our annual conference moved to Macon and growing it more than we could have ever imagined. Mark was also the Training Director and SWAT Team Commander for the Macon Police Department. He will be greatly missed by all.”
Flags flew at half-staff in front of the training center as well as the sheriff’s office where it was lowered on Monday afternoon. In an email from MPD spokesperson, Jami Gaudet she wrote:
“We will forever remember and cherish Mark's professionalism, excellence and love of law enforcement. He will continue to inspire us.”
However, for the daughter Cotton leaves behind, Celia said she will just miss her dad.
"It’s just going to be seeing him that's probably what it's going to be."
Cotton's family said they are planning funeral arrangements to be held later in the week.