iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — A Texas police officer died after suffering a medical emergency, falling and seriously injuring his head Friday. The news, released Saturday afternoon, was a shocking turn from what authorities initially said was suspected to be a fatal shooting of a uniformed officer.
Sgt. Keith Shepherd, of the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, was found dead in his police vehicle at a downtown Fort Worth parking garage at about 9 p.m. local time on Friday. The garage was located just across the street from Tarrant County Jail, where Shepherd worked, and the sheriff’s office. Police said at the time he was found that it was reported as a shooting by the first people on scene.
By Saturday, officials said Shepherd was outside of his vehicle when he suffered a medical emergency and injured his head when he fell to the ground. However, he was apparently able to pull himself into his car before he died.
The medical examiner said Shepherd’s cause of death was a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in his lungs.
“What I know about Keith is that he had a great reputation at the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office,” Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn said at a press conference Saturday. “He was a strong leader. He was loved. He was a great husband and a good father.”
The amount of blood both inside and outside of Shepherd’s car led to the original belief he had been shot, Waybourn said.
Shepherd had gone to lunch Friday and never returned, according to the sheriff.
“He was found in his vehicle with blood outside the vehicle and blood inside the vehicle,” Waybourn said. “And nobody knows what happened there. And the officers that found him immediately began to do emergency medical procedures on him.”
He was pronounced dead at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.
Shepherd was a 19-year veteran of the force.
“We lost one of our own last night,” Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter. “Sgt. Keith Shepherd dedicated his life to standing between evil and good. He was a 19yr veteran of our Detention Bureau and will always be a part of our family. Please pray for his family as they struggle with this loss and for the TCSO.”
Shepherd is one of two police officers in Tarrant County who died suddenly on Friday.
Caleb Rainey, 25, of the North Richland Hills Police Department, died from an unspecified illness, according to the department. They also sent their condolences to Shepherd.
“As we mourn the loss of one of our own, we learn of another hero down,” North Richland Hills police said on Twitter. “Sgt. Shepherd, your legacy of dedication to your community won’t be forgotten.”
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