September 17, 2017- Social media sites Facebook and Twitter exploded tonight with unconfirmed reports that a young Gary Police Officer was found dead in his car while working security. Several Gary police officers have now shared a post with the thin blue line and a badge number which generally indicates an officer has passed. Comments indicated that the officer suffered a heart attack while working security at 128 N. Clark Road, near the Gary Airport. Information derived from the Scanner indicates that State Police were sent to the location at approximately 9:00 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing a large convoy of police cars and the Lake County Coroner van travelling south on Cleveland Street toward the Lake County Government Complex.
UPDATE: Gary Police spokesperson Lt. Dawn Westerfield stated that officers were called to the area of 100 N. Clark Road for an unresponsive male. “Upon arrival Gary officers discovered an unresponsive male identified as Willie Smith Jr in his personal vehicle. Smith was working a security detail for a business in thearea. Smith had no signs of life and no outward signs of trauma. Willie Smith Jr was a Reserve Officer with the Gary Police Department.” Lt. Westerfiled indicated that there were no signs of foul play. Smith was working security for a private company at the time of his death according to Lt. Westerfield.
UPDATE: Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey has confirmed that passing of Willie Smith, age 30.