Newport officer killed in line of duty was ‘a good friend to everybody he met’

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NEWPORT, Ark. -- A Mid-South community is mourning the loss of a 15-year police veteran after he was killed in the line of duty.

Authorities say an 18-year-old is now in custody and charged with killing Lt. Patrick Weatherford from the Newport Police Department.

“He’s a wonderful person, probably more than anybody I’ve ever met in my life, and we’re going to miss him," said Police Chief Michael Scudder.

Chief Scudder says he worked with Weatherford at the Newport Police Department for 15 years.

“Patrick was a good friend to everybody he met.”

Authorities say Weatherford responded to a car break-in call Monday night and ended up chasing the suspect on foot with other officers.

They say the suspect then turned around and fired a gun, fatally hitting the 41-year-old lieutenant.

“The citizens of Arkansas need to know these law enforcement officers are dedicated to their communities," said Col. Bill Bryant with Arkansas State Police.

So dedicated, Weatherford was recognized last year as the Jackson County law enforcement officer of the year. He was also said to be just as dedicated of a father and husband.

“He cared about his family," said Chief Scudder.

A family that extends to law enforcement across the country.

“It doesn’t matter the color of the uniform or what the patch says, law enforcement is a very tight community," said Col. Bryant.

Authorities aren’t releasing much more at this point for suspect information and say others may still be questioned.

They’re also still figuring out the exact charges, but we’re told the 18-year-old suspect is expected to have a first appearance in court Wednesday morning.

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