AR lawmakers react to Lt. Patrick Weatherford's death

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Arkansas lawmakers offered their condolences Tuesday to the family and colleagues of Lt. Patrick Weatherford.

Governor Asa Hutchinson commended Lt. Patrick Weatherford's 15-year career with the Newport Police Department, stating he demonstrated "bravery, selflessness and commitment" to his community.

"I was saddened to hear that Lt. Patrick Weatherford was shot and killed in the line of duty yesterday afternoon. Lt. Weatherford's 15-year career at the Newport Police Department demonstrates his bravery, selflessness and commitment to serving his community. He will be remembered for his courage and dedication to serve and protect the people in and around the Newport area. We are forever indebted to men and women like Lt. Weatherford, who put their lives on the line every day to keep others safe. Our hearts go out to his family, the law enforcement community and the Newport Police Department during this difficult time."

Calling it a "heartbreaking tragedy," Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin said Weatherford's shooting death in the line of duty should serve as a "sobering reminder of the dangers our men and women in law enforcement face" each day:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Officer Lt. Patrick Weatherford during this time of grief and sorrow. Arkansans mourn the loss of Lt. Weatherford as we recognize and honor his sacrifice in the line of duty. My thoughts and prayers are also with the Newport Police Department and the broader law enforcement community as they mourn the loss of one of their own. This heart-breaking tragedy is a sobering reminder of the dangers our men and women in law enforcement face each and every day when they put on their uniforms to protect and serve our communities."

A native of Region 8, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge offered her prayers and condolences to both Weatherford's young family and his fellow officers:

"Today marks the end of watch for Lt. Patrick Weatherford, the Jackson County Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2016," said Attorney General Rutledge. "Lt. Weatherford was known for routinely preventing incidents and altercations from escalating into crisis, and I have no doubt that Lt. Weatherford began his watch today with the same mission to protect and serve the community he loved so much. His young family and his fellow officers of the Newport Police Department are all grieving, and I pray that God will bring them strength and peace in the days ahead. May we all be reminded of the words found in John 15:13, 'that greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.'"

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton echoed Rutledge's recognition of Weatherford as Officer of the Year, and commended his "unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our state":

"Today, we mourn the death of a distinguished member of the Arkansas law-enforcement community. Lt. Weatherford was a 15-year veteran of the Newport police force who just last year was recognized as the Jackson County officer of the year for his outstanding performance and unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our state. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, fellow officers, and the entire Newport community."

Rep. Ryan Crawford, who represents the First Congressional District, and U.S. Senator John Boozman each took to Twitter to offer their thoughts and prayers:

Rep. Michael John Gray, who represents District 47 in the Arkansas House of Representatives which includes parts of Jackson County and Newport, said Weatherford's "dedication to service" would serve as an inspiration to all in his district and throughout the state:

"Jackson County lost a hero in the line of duty yesterday. Lt. Patrick Weatherford of the Newport Police Department lost his life in an ambush while serving and protecting. Today we grieve Lt. Weatherford; we mourn with his family, his friends and his brothers and sisters in uniform.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

Watch Region 8 News On Demand: On your Desktop | On your Mobile device

Region 8 News App - Install or update on your: iPhone | Android