Remembering America's Heroes: Police Officers Who Passed Away in February 2020


Those who choose to go into law enforcement know the sacrifice that their career choice may require, yet they do it anyway.

Here are some of the heroes who gave their lives to protect their communities in February 2020.

Deputy Richard Whitten

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Liberty County Deputy Richard Whitten, 52, was shot in May 2019 while pursuing a murder suspect in Houston. After the shooting, Dept. Whitten was paralyzed, but on Feb. 3, he suffered from a heart attack during a physical therapy session, according to KTRK.

He served with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department for four years before death and leaves behind his wife and two children.

Officer Nick O’Rear

Kimberly, Alabama, Police Officer Nick O’Rear, 33, was gunned down in the middle of a car chase for a neighboring community and died from his injuries on Feb. 5. He served with the Kimberly Police Department for one year before his death, according to ABC News.

O’Rear was the father of two children with a third on the way.

Trooper Joseph Bullock

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Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock, 42, was fatally shot on Feb. 5 after responding to a report of a disable vehicle, according to USA Today. He served with the FHP for 19 years before his death.

He was also an Air Force veteran.

Officer Kenneth Lester

Richmond, Indiana, Police Officer Kenneth Lester, 62, died from injuries sustained on duty in 1995. Officer Lester served with the police department for 16 years before he was medically retired after a tragic car accident, giving him debilitating injuries, according to the Richmond Palladium-Item.

He ultimately succumbed to his injuries on Feb. 10 and is survived by his wife and two children.

Dept. Sheriff Donna Richardson

Dept. Sheriff Donna Richardson-Below died on Feb. 12 after an on-duty vehicle crash.

She had served with the DeSoto Parish Sheirff’s Office in Louisiana for only a year before her death, but had previously served with Louisiana Probation and Parole.

Lt. Shirley Lanning

Lt. Shirley Lanning, 58, died after an on-duty car crash. Before serving with Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, she served for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office and the University of Central Oklahoma campus police.

She is survived by her husband.

Officer David Kellywood

White Mountain Apache Police Officer David Kellywood, 26, was shot and killed near Hon-Dah Resort and Casino while responding to reports of gunfire.

He served with the department for only nine months before his death, according to KSAZ.

Cpl. Andrew Gillette 

Cpl. Andrew Gillette, 33, was fatally shot while serving an eviction notice in Dalzell, South Carolina. He served with Sumter County Sheriff’s Office for seven years, according to WITI.

He is survived by his wife and 11-year-old son.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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