LAWRENCE COUNTY, MS – A vicious tornado raged through 18 counties in Mississippi on Easter Sunday, with current fatalities so far listed at 11. Of those lost was a Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy and his wife. According to a release by the sheriff’s office, the deputy had shielded his wife while the storm raged through their home.
The aftermath of a tornado, with winds in excess of 150 mph, left homes seemingly torn to shreds. Authorities are still working through all the affected areas so far, and the understanding of the total causalities is still a developing matter.
Deputy Robert Ainsworth, and his wife Paula, were among those identified as having been killed during the storm.
Being described as a “long time employee” for the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, as well as a former Marine, officials stated that Deputy Ainsworth’s final act was trying to protect his wife as the storm hit their home:
“Robert left this world a hero, as he shielded Mrs. Paula during the tornado. He was a very valuable employee and will be greatly missed. Please remember to pray for LCSO along with their families during this tragedy.”
Deputy Ainsworth’s wife Paula was recognized for her work with the courts as a previous Justice Court Deputy Clerk at the Lawrence County Justice Court. Most recently, she was working with the Walthall County Justice Court as a Justice Court Deputy Clerk.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency noted that so far 11 people have been cited as passing due to the storm that swept through the state on April 12th. David Hartman, who works as the Chief Meteorologist for local news outlet WAPT, described the tornado as the strongest one he’d seen in his career.
Hundreds of homes were reported as being destroyed during the deadly storm. Lives were lost, livelihoods destroyed in mere minutes, with families losing loved ones in the process.
From all of us at Law Enforcement Today, our hearts go out to the family of Deputy Robert Ainsworth and his wife Paula, as well as all of those who have lost loved ones during this horrific storm. For the first responders helping those in need during this tragic event, we thank you.
It was a grim Easter for many in the law enforcement community, as two police officers in New Jersey also passed away within mere hours from each other. Officials are saying that the cause of death is attributed to COVID-19.
First, the Paterson Police Department announced that 34-year-old Officer Francesco Scorpo died. He was with the department since 2015.
On Facebook, the department said:
“He will be remembered not only for being an exemplary police officer, but as an exceptional and very special human being.”
Hours later, the Bedminster Police Department announced that 38-year-old Sergeant AlTerek Patterson died. He joined the department in 2006 and was promoted to sergeant in 2014.
The department wrote on Facebook:
“Sergeant Patterson always had a smile on his face and touched the lives of so many residents at their time of need.”
The New Jersey State PBA President Colligan said on Twitter:
“These are the darkest of days as we work to protect our communities while battling this invisible killer. We have now lost five officers, and while we are shaken, our resolve remains unwavering. Pray for these families.”
President Colligan on the death of 2 NJ officers on Easter – "These are the darkest of days as we work to protect our communities while battling this invisible killer. We have now lost 5 officers, and while we are shaken, our resolve remains unwavering. Pray for these families." pic.twitter.com/ich2F7gBhl
— New Jersey State PBA (@NJSPBA) April 12, 2020
To the families of Sergeant AlTerek Patterson and Officer Francesco Scorpo, we share our prayers and condolences. On a day that most families will be among loved ones celebrating in future years, these families will be reminded of their loved one’s passing.
In the meantime, officials are investigating the death of a Lake County Sheriff’s deputy, where authorities found the deputy’s body on April 4th.
While there’s been no official cause of death revealed at this time, investigators suspect that the deputy’s passing was due to suicide.
A Lake County Sheriff's Deputy was found dead at home on Saturday. The death of Ross Holcomb, 32, is being investigated by the Missoula County Sheriff and Coroner's Office.https://t.co/rBFlYDT5ve
— NBC Montana (@NBCMontana) April 5, 2020
The body of 32-year-old Deputy Ross Holcomb was found dead inside of his home, according to the Missoula County Sheriff’s office which is handling the investigation. During a press conference that was held on April 5th, Lake County Sheriff Donald Bell stated the MCSO suspect that Deputy Holcomb had died by suicide.
Sheriff Bell extended his gratitude toward the MCSO for their assistance in the investigation during the press conference:
“We want to thank the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office and all other agencies who have been assisting us during this incredibly difficult time.”
Ross Holcomb; loving dad, #Montana Lake County Deputy Sheriff, former Marine
October 30, 1987 — April 4, 2020
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 pic.twitter.com/SVr20Kvcis
— Chelsea ?? (@thatchelseagirl) April 8, 2020
Investigators did not go into any further details on the state in which Deputy Holcomb was found. He joined the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in June of 2017 and was also noted as a combat veteran for the United States Marine Corps.
Matters such as these can leave loved ones hurt, confused, and dealing with innumerable other emotions.
We at Law Enforcement Today want to offer out prayers and condolences toward those grieving the loss of Deputy Holcomb.
For any and all struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, please reach out to one of the many resources out there for you. We’re living in times where stress can be at an all time high with the pandemic, and there’s absolutely zero to be ashamed of for reaching out and asking for help.
This includes the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline , you can call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone immediately.
On April 9th, we reported on another officer we lost in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Officer Breann Leath of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was shot and killed during a domestic violence call.
Officer Leath, just 24 years old, responded to the call with two other officers at an apartment complex in the area of 21st Street and North Franklin Road on the east side.
Before you read on, please take a good look at her picture, below. Look at her beautiful smile, the smile that is so obviously evidence of her love of being a police officer. Her pride in having earned the position. She is said to be from a law enforcement family, which adds to how proud she was to be a part of that.
Her face is emanating pure joy.
And now because some criminal didn’t want to go to jail, this beautiful woman’s young son is going to grow up motherless.
Officer Leath was a loving mother. A veteran. Daughter of a public servant family. And the example of what an @IMPDnews officer should be.
She will be sorely missed. pic.twitter.com/X6t3orHhji
— IMPD (@IMPDnews) April 9, 2020
We humbly thank Officer Breann Leath for her sacrifice and are praying for her family, friends, and communities, during this time. pic.twitter.com/143b8bdWvg
— Believe IN Belinda (@iambelindadrake) April 9, 2020
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said that the shots that took Officer Leath’s life were fired “through the structure.” The coward didn’t even come out to face police.
Officer Leath and a civilian female were shot.
Both were taken to Eskanazi Hospital, where Officer Leath was pronounced dead.
The other shooting victim is said to have non-life-threatening injuries.
There is one suspect in custody at this time; no information on the shooter has been released at this time.
Breann Leath: A 24 year old mom… killed.
Sick of reading about officers being gunned down.
It’s bullshit. Total bullshit.
It’s time for the state of Indiana to make the murder of a police officer an executable offense. Send a message. Now. https://t.co/MjwRuCFS1P
— Tyler Gillean (@TylerGillean) April 10, 2020
Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke at a news conference outside of the hospital. There, he said:
“Officer Leath turned toward the danger. Officer Leath made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of her brothers and sisters and made the ultimate sacrifice for an ever-grateful city.”
Our thoughts and condolences are with IMPD and the family of Officer Breann Leath. Officer Leath was cowardly shot and killed today in Indianapolis while responding to a Domestic. pic.twitter.com/SgGOw5hftQ
— Cedar Lake Police (@CedarLakePolice) April 10, 2020
The mayor ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in Officer Leath’s honor.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said:
“Officer Leath gave her life as she answered the call of duty. She will be forever remembered for being the finest among us.”
We are asking for prayers right now. ?
— IMPD NWDistrict (@IMPDNW) April 9, 2020
Officer Leath was just 24 years old and had been with the IMPD for two-and-a-half years. She leaves behind a young son.
She served her community as a police officer, and served her country as a member of the Army National Guard.
She is the first officer to be killed in the line of duty in Indianapolis since Officer Perry Wayne Renn, who was also shot on the city’s east side.
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