Tarrant County Deputy Had Medical Emergency, Which Led to Death; Sheriff

What to Know

  • Initial reports of Sgt. Keith Shepherd's death prompted a massive law enforcement response
  • It was later determined the sergeant had a medical emergency
  • Funeral arrangements are being organized for the 19-year veteran of the sheriff's office

A Tarrant County sheriff's sergeant who died shortly after being found in his car with head injuries apparently suffered a medical emergency and was not shot, as deputies initially suspected, authorities said on Saturday.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office determined that Sgt. Keith Shepherd suffered a pulmonary embolism. After falling, he was able to make it back to his own car where he was found Friday evening by colleagues who searched for him when he didn't return from his break during a shift at the county jail.

Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn says the news sent shockwaves throughout the law enforcement community.

"It was a massive response. Everybody did initially think the worst." Waybourn said.

It was initially believed that a suspect may be on the loose, but Waybourn had cautioned that there was no apparent ongoing threat to the public. He said they feared the worst because it appeared foul play could have been a factor.

"It appears that he fell and had some trauma to the head and was able to slightly recover from that long enough to get in his car where where he passed away." Waybourn said.

Investigators found blood inside and outside the car, and they had planned to review area surveillance video for insight into what happened.

Sgt. Shepherd "was a well respected leader in this organization," Waybourn said. "He's a great father and a great husband, and just an all around good man."

Sgt. Shepherd is beloved by his law enforcement colleagues who are now mourning his sudden passing.

"This man had an impact on Tarrant County. He had a noble impact, and his legacy is great. And we will be celebrating that for the next few days," Waybourn said.

Shepherd's body was transferred to Wade Funeral Home in Arlington on Saturday. Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Shepherd had worked for the sheriff's department for 19 years and was assigned to the jail.

Editor's note: Sheriff Waybourn first identified the deputy as Keith Humphries. Police later corrected his name to Keith Shepherd.

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