Laurel, MS – Laurel Police Department (LPD) Chief Tyrone Stewart died unexpectedly on Jan. 28, following a brief hospitalization.
“Everyone is in shock,” LPD Captain Tommy Cox told The Laurel Leader-Call. “We are going to carry on the best we can. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Stewart family.”
Laurel Mayor Jonny Magee said that the city was notified that Chief Stewart, 48, was hospitalized the week prior to his sudden death, WDAM reported.
"I talked to him Wednesday," Magee told the news outlet. "He told me that he'd be coming home Friday. I got a call yesterday, and his brother told me the doctors called the family in. He said he [Stewart] never came home Friday."
The chief’s condition worsened in the days that followed, and he ultimately passed away at approximately 2:20 a.m., the mayor said.
"You hear the term 'people person,' but he actually was," Magee said. "He actually was. He enjoyed people. He enjoyed being around people, and he enjoyed helping people. He would do everything for you and still uphold the law."
“His main emphasis, especially to young people, was that where he came from did not dictate where he could go,” he added, according to WDAM.
Chief Stewart joined LPD in 1994, after serving as a corrections officer with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department, WDAM reported.
He rose through the ranks in the decades that followed, and was appointed as Chief of Police in 2011.
“He was in my opinion, a great chief, a great person, and just a great human being,” Magee told WHPM.
“He worked his way up from a slick-sleeved sergeant all the way to chief,” former Laurel Mayor Melvin Mack told The Laurel Leader-Call. “He knew how to deal with people, how to diffuse things. He was fair to everybody. He was a good man.”
Resident Erin Napier said that Chief Stewart went above and beyond in his service to the Laurel community.
“He gave his personal cell phone number to everyone in town so they would always feel taken care of,” Napier wrote in a blog post. “He had toy drives for children in need at Christmas.”
“For all the problems Laurel has overcome in the last 10 years, he was one of its biggest catalysts,” she continued. “And gosh this city feels a little dimmer without him.”
Chief Stewart leaves behind his wife, Trina, and their children, Jasmine and Justin, The Laurel Leader-Call reported.
He was laid to rest on Friday.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Laurel Police Department Chief Tyrone Stewart, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.