Patrolman Jeffrey Brady Westerfield
Gary Police Department, Indiana
End of Watch: Sunday, July 6, 2014
Tour of Duty: 19 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: July 6, 2014
Weapon Used: Gun; Unknown type
Suspect Info: At large
Agency Contact Information
Chief of Police Wade Ingram
Gary Police Department
555 Polk Street
Gary, IN 46407
Phone: (219) 881-1260
Patrolman Jeffery Westerfield was shot and killed from ambush as he sat in his patrol car in the 2600 block of Van Buren Street.
A citizen called 911 at 5:50 am after discovering Patrolman Westerfield suffering from gunshot wounds in his patrol car, with multiple shell casing found outside of the vehicle. The exact circumstances of his death are unknown. He had responded to the same area on a call earlier in the night.
Patrolman Westerfield had served with the Gary Police Department for 19 years. He was survived by his four daughters and fiancee. Patrolman Westerfield was killed on his 47th Birthday.
A Gary, Indiana, police officer was shot and killed while on-duty Sunday on his 47th birthday and a manhunt is underway for the gunman, police said.
Officer Jeffery Brady Westerfield was found by a citizen unresponsive in a parked squad car just before 6 a.m. near 26th Avenue and Van Buren Street, according to Chief Wade Ingram.
Police suspect the shooting may have stemmed from an earlier call in the area, possibly for a report of shots fired, Ingram said in a press conference Sunday.
"We believe he was searching the area for a suspect," Ingram said, noting that police are still investigating the incident.
Ingram said he did not believe the shooting involved a traffic stop. Shell casings were found at the scene, according to authorities.
Officials said Westerfield was a 19-year veteran on the force. He has four daughters and was engaged to be married.
"It is a tremendous loss to the department," said 5th District Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson.
Officials said they are following up on several leads in the investigation.
"Any loss of life, particularly a police officer’s loss of life, is devastating to a department, is devastating to a community and what it means is we will to go through every legal measure to make sure that the person who is responsible for this is held accountable," said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.
Gun violence in the area had been declining with shootings down by more than 50 percent, until a spike in homicides occurred about a week ago, officials said.
"The fact that an officer has lost his life certainly causes you to question whether you can make the type of headway that needs to be made to ensure ultimate success," said Freeman-Wilson. "We know that we can push back on this."
The last time an officer was killed while on-duty in the area was 1998, Freeman-Wilson said.
Ingram said the Lake County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation into Westerfield’s death with the assistance of the Gary police department and other agencies. He said several officers were coming in on their day off to help with the manhunt.
"You can never be too careful as an officer," Ingram said. "Every day you put that uniform on your life is on the line."