City announces passing of Laurel PD chief

City announces passing of Laurel PD chief
Just before 3 a.m., the City of Laurel announced the chief’s passing on Facebook sending shockwaves through the community. (Source: City of Laurel)

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Prayers and condolences flood Tyrone Stewart’s, Laurel Police Department’s police chief, Facebook page. Just before 3 a.m., the City of Laurel announced the chief’s passing on Facebook sending shockwaves through the community.

“I received the call at 2:25 p.m. from the family that LPD Chief Tyrone Stewart has passed. Please pray for the Stewart family.”

On Sunday night, the family alerted the city that Stewart was in critical condition in the ICU and asked for prayers along with privacy. The city shared the family’s announcement on their Facebook page, which garnered hundreds of comments and shares.

“After permission from the family, we officially announce that Police Chief Tyrone Stewart is currently hospitalized in critical condition in the ICU. The family requests privacy at this time. Please keep the Stewart family in your prayers as they deal with this situation. We will keep you updated on his condition as the family releases information to us. The Mayor and employees of the city of Laurel are in prayer with the Stewart family. God bless.”

Stewart was appointed police chief in 2011. He replaced police chief Walter Martin who retired after being with the department since 1978. It was a decision that helped the city “financially," WDAM previously reported.

At the time of his appointment, Stewart had 18 years of experience in law enforcement. He started his career as a jailer at the Jones County Sheriff’s Department. His journey to police chief began with the job of patrolman at the Laurel Police Department where he was eventually promoted to deputy chief. Stewart entered the position with civil service protection, a first in the department’s history.

“Anytime when you have a change of guard there is going to be some uncertainty in people’s mind," said Stewart during his swearing-in ceremony. “I want the whole police department to know for the newest person that is hired to the person that has been there the longest, we are all one big family. I cannot do this job by myself. I am going to have to depend upon them and they are going to have to depend upon me and we are all going to make it through okay.”

In May 2018, Mayor Johnny Magee announced that Stewart would take a leave of absence to deal with a “serious illness.” Deputy Chief Billy Chandler, Capt. Tommy Cox and Capt. Shane Valentine were appointed to oversee the department during his leave.

Statewide law enforcement agencies took to social media to offer their condolences on the passing of Stewart.

Today our Association mourns the loss of one of our valued members. Chief Tyrone Stewart of Laurel passed away in the...

Posted by Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police on Monday, January 28, 2019

Today we are saddened to hear the news that City of Laurel Police Chief, Tyrone Stewart, has passed away. Our prayers are with the Stewart family, and the men and women of the Laurel Police Department.

Posted by Columbia Police Department on Monday, January 28, 2019

Deputy Chief Billy Chandler, Capt. Tommy Cox and Capt. Shane Valentine have been tapped to lead the department after Stewart’s sudden death, Mayor Johnny Magee said in a statement.

Copyright 2019 WDAM. All rights reserved.