LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - The flag outside the Laurel Police Department flies at half-staff as city leaders and residents try to come to terms with the sudden passing of Police Chief Tyrone Stewart.
In an emotional interview, Mayor Johnny Magee describes Stewart as a good chief, a good spokesman and a good role model for the city.
Magee said the city received notice that Stewart was in the hospital last week.
"I talked to him Wednesday," said Magee. "He told me that he'd be coming home Friday. I got a call yesterday, and his brother told me the doctors called the family in. He said he [Stewart] never came home Friday."
Magee said the family called him around 11 a.m. Sunday and said that Stewart's condition had grown progressively worse through the day. Magee said he got the devastating news around 2:20 a.m. Monday that Stewart had passed away.
In May of 2018, the city announced that Stewart had to take time off for medical leave, but Magee stated that Stewart's recent hospitalization was completely unrelated.
Magee said Stewart started with the department in 1994 and leaves behind his wife and two children. He was 48-years-old.
"You hear the term 'people person' but he actually was," said Magee. "He actually was. He enjoyed people. He enjoyed being around people, and he enjoyed helping people. He would do everything for you and still uphold the law."
Magee said that at the moment, he has no one in mind for a permanent chief but he would prefer to promote from within the department, if possible.
For the time being, Deputy Chief Billy Chandler, Capt. Tommy Cox and Capt. Shane Valentine have been tapped to lead the department
Cox said the department is in complete shock and send its condolences to Stewart's family.
According to the city, funeral arrangements have not been made at this time.