Hendersonville, NC – Hendersonville Police Lieutenant Jimmy Case died unexpectedly after collapsing outside his home while doing yard work on Thursday.
Lt. Case, 57, had taken time off from work to care for his wife, who recently underwent surgery, the Hendersonville Lightening reported.
He collapsed while working outside, and was rushed to Pardee Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“We are numb and devastated,” Hendersonville Police Chief Herbert Blake told the Hendersonville Lightening. “A lot of people consider Jimmy Case to be a superhero cop.”
“He was just an affable and enjoyable person to have in an organization and he is going to leave a void that cannot be filled,” Chief Blake said.
Lt. Case served the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) for a decade before he joined the Hendersonville Police Department (HPD) in 1999, the sheriff’s office said in a Facebook post.
“The Law Enforcement community lost a true hero this afternoon,” the HCSO’s post read. “We at HCSO offer our deepest condolences to the Case family and our brothers and sisters in Blue at the Hendersonville Police Department.”
Lt. Case was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2012, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant earlier this year, HPD said in a press release.
During the course of his career, Lt. Case served as a motorcycle officer, K9 officer, instructor, and hostage negotiator.
He was named as the department’s supervisor of the year in March.
“Jimmy was a great man who made a big impact in the community,” the HPD said.
Hendersonville City Councilman Jeff Miller said that Lt. Case was easy to talk to and made people feel comfortable, the Hendersonville Lightening reported.
“Everybody loved that guy,” Miller said. “He was old school but just a good police officer. He had rapport with people…Just a damn good cop. He's one of these guys that if he writes you a ticket, you'd probably thank him."
Chief Blake said that Lt. Case possessed all the qualities a department looks for when hiring an officer, and that losing him as a coworker and friend has been a “kick in the gut,” the Times-News reported.
“He was exactly the type of person you want to represent your police department and interact with the public during difficult times,” the chief explained. “Jimmy was the type of person who could connect and communicate with anyone…No one was better known in this department than Jimmy.”
“The world is full of people who are cynical and bitter,” he added. “Jimmy was the opposite of that, and he was a magnet to people because of it.”
The veteran officer was also viewed as a “mentor” by his peers, Chief Blake said.
“If there was a chance for an officer to jump on his team, they would jump,” he noted.
Hendersonville Police Officer Antonio Valdibia said he could always count on Lt. Case to be upfront and honest with him.
“If you had self-doubt or a question on something, he would tell you exactly what he thought,” Officer Valdibia told the Times-News. “There were no pulling back punches like a lot of people who will tell you what you want to hear.”
He said that Lt. Case was known as “a good ole boy,” and that “even the bad guys” would shake his hand when they ran into one another.
“There is only one Jimmy Case,” Officer Valdibia said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hendersonville Police Lieutenant Jimmy Case, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.