Lewes, DE – Delaware State Police Master Corporal William Matt died unexpectedly at his residence on Monday evening, his agency said.
“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that we announce the tragic loss of Master Corporal Matt,” Delaware State Police Commissioner Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr. said in an agency press release.
“He was a dedicated Trooper with a tireless work ethic. He served his country as a proud member of the United States Army and committed his life to serving his community as a Delaware State Trooper. He absolutely loved being a Trooper,” the release said.
Cpl. Matt, 54, joined the state police on Sep. 16, 1988 and was a member of the 57th Delaware State Police Recruit Class, according to the press release.
He completed his field training program with Troop 6 before being permanently assigned there as a uniformed patrol trooper.
In 2001, Cpl. Matt was assigned to Troop 7, and was promoted to the rank of Master Corporal the following year.
Cpl. Matt served as a school resource officer in Sussex County from 2007 until 2011.
“The Cape Henlopen School District is saddened to hear of the sudden loss of Delaware State Police Officer William 'Bill' Matt," the district said in a statement, according to Delmarva Now. "Master Corporal Matt worked for the District as an SRO, helping to provide a safe environment for all of our staff and students. Our District sends our thoughts and deepest condolences to his DSP family, and to his immediate family members during this sad time.”
Cpl. Matt was later assigned to the Criminal Investigative Unit at Troop 4, and returned to Troop 7 in Lewes in May of 2016, the state police said.
“As we honor the service and mourn the loss of our fellow Trooper, we ask the community to keep his family and the members of the Delaware State Police in your thoughts and prayers,” Col. McQueen said.
Cpl. Matt’s wife and son passed away in a car accident approximately eight years ago, but the trooper never stopped carrying on for his family and his department, Representative Steve Smyk, a close friend and neighbor, told Delmarva Now.
"A similar tragedy would have crushed many men, yet he found a way through his grief, not only to raise his remaining children, but to work with me in the Delaware State Troopers Association to help officers experiencing their own adversities,” said Smyk, who also served in the Delaware State Police.
"Anyone who knew Bill was aware he had a wonderful, bellowing voice,” Smyk recalled. “When used to its full effect, I actually saw him stop criminals in their tracks.”
Cpl. Matt was also a United States Army veteran, and later retired from the Delaware National Guard at the rank of captain.
In September, he would have faced mandatory retirement from the state police force, Smyk said.
"I am among the many who will miss Bill in about every way he can be missed,” he said. “With his passing, Delaware has lost one of its exemplary citizens.”
Cpl. Matt made a profound impact on those he encountered and had a zest for life, his brother, Brian Matt said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
“Bill lived life to the fullest and never had dust fall on his shoes,” he wrote. “On a happy note it is God’s Blessing he is united in Heaven with Kirstie and his beautiful son William Noah. God Bless you Bill. I love you.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Delaware State Police Master Corporal William Matt, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.