Person of interest in Gary police death still held

An ambulance takes away one of the suspects in the shooting death of veteran Gary Police officer Jeff Westerfield in Gary, Ind., Sunday, July 6, 2014. The officer was found dead in his car Sunday morning. (AP Photo/The Times, John J. Watkins)
An ambulance takes away one of the suspects in the shooting death of veteran Gary Police officer Jeff Westerfield in Gary, Ind., Sunday, July 6, 2014. The officer was found dead in his car Sunday morning. (AP Photo/The Times, John J. Watkins)

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A person of interest arrested in connection with the shooting death of a Gary police officer was in custody for the third day Tuesday, Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said.

The person of interest was arrested Sunday after Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield was found dead in his patrol car. Freeman-Wilson told The (Munster) Times that police can hold a person of interest on a warrant from another jurisdiction, but she didn’t elaborate on that point.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation into Westerfield’s slaying.

Gov. Mike Pence traveled Tuesday to Lake County to meet with members of Westerfield’s family. He also declared this week an official period of mourning after the loss of Westerfield and two other law enforcement officers in the line of duty over an eight-day period.

“Every Hoosier feels the loss of these fallen officers and stands with their families and communities during this week of heartbreak. It is altogether fitting that every community in Indiana show solidarity, support and prayers for these officers and their families during this time,” Pence said in a statement.

Westerfield’s funeral was expected to be held at the Genesis Convention Center in Gary, the newspaper reported.

Gary officials have said the family and the city are working with Indianapolis officials to schedule Westerfield’s funeral so it does not conflict with Friday’s funeral for Officer Perry Renn of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Saturday night. Both of the officers’ funerals are expected to draw law enforcement officers from several states and across Indiana.

The other Indiana officer killed recently in the line of duty was Tipton County Deputy Sheriff Jacob Calvin. He died in a single-car accident while responding to a call on June 28.

Renn was shot and killed in Indianapolis responding to a call late Saturday night. Westerfield was shot and killed on duty hours later.

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