NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - As the city of Newport mourns the loss of Lieutenant Patrick Weatherford, Newport Mayor David Stewart remembers him not only as an employee of the city but as a good friend.
Stewart said Wednesday that Weatherford moved quickly through the ranks in the Newport Police Department, and he became one of their very best officers.
Outside of his uniform, Stewart said Weatherford was a family and Christian man.
Stewart recalls Weatherford as being well-known in the community and easy to talk to.
"Patrick was a policeman when he was a policeman, but when he was not, he was a family man," Stewart said. "He enjoyed things just like everyone else does. Sometimes folks don't realize that policemen have a life outside of being a police officer, but he definitely didn't. He will be greatly missed by the community and by his family."
Bridget Hendrix once worked for the Newport Police Department and trained Weatherford.
She said she was walking with her grandson near Remmel Park Monday night at the time of the shooting.
Hendrix said a marked vehicle stopped and authorities asked if she had seen the suspect.
Later, after returning home, she learned from her neighbor that Weatherford was shot and had died.
She was in disbelief and said she can imagine the last thing on his mind was the ones he loved most.
"If he felt that he was succumbing, I'm pretty sure the first thing on his mind was his wife and his family. They are very good people," Hendrix said.
Hendrix said Weatherford was a resolver and if the outcome was different, he would have offered the suspect something to eat with a drink while he did his job.
People in the community said that he would never hesitate to lend a helping hand to anyone.
A memorial outside of Remmel Park has been set up in honor of Weatherford.
Residents said they were in shock when they heard the news.
"As a friend, Pat has always come through for me," Newport resident Mary Keel said. "Being a police officer. Being a friend. It's just going to be something that we're really going to miss a part of us. He has so many friends. I could not think of anyone who would not like him.
Stewart said they have received messages of prayer for the community from all over the world.
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