Fort Worth, TX – Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) Sergeant Keith Shepherd died on Friday night, after suffering a pulmonary embolism that caused him to collapse and hit his head on of the ground.
The 19-year veteran-of-the-force was expected to return from his break between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., but he never showed, Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn told reporters during a press conference.
His fellow deputies went looking for him, and ultimately found him inside his personal vehicle in the parking lot just before 9:30 p.m.
There was blood both inside and outside the sergeant’s car, the sheriff explained.
The incident was initially reported to Fort Worth police as a shooting due to the “star-shaped” injury the sergeant suffered when he fell and struck the back of his head, KTVT reported.
“It was apparent that there was some significant injuries to him,” Fort Worth Police Sergeant Chris Daniels confirmed during the press conference.
Sgt. Shepherd, 58, was rushed to Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Sheriff Waybourn explained.
Doctors determined he had suffered a blood clot in his lung, according to KTVT.
Investigators also reviewed security footage from the parking lot, and determined that Sgt. Shepherd experienced the medical emergency while he was near his vehicle.
He then fell and struck his head, and was bleeding heavily before he managed to get himself into his vehicle, where he passed away, Sheriff Waybourn said on Saturday afternoon, flanked by members of the veteran deputy’s shift.
The sheriff described Sgt. Shepherd as an “all-around good man,” who served his community well during his nearly two decades of service.
“This man had an impact on Tarrant County,” Sheriff Waybourn said. “He had a noble impact, and his legacy is great, and we’ll be celebrating that.”
He was assigned to the jail staff at the time of his death, TCSO Chief of Staff David McClelland told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Sgt. Shepherd was named as the department’s Confinement Supervisor of the Year in 2011, the TCSO said in a Facebook post.
“He had a great reputation at Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Waybourn told reporters. “He was a strong leader, [and] he was loved.”
Sgt. Shepherd was also a husband and father, the sheriff added.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Keith Shepherd, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.