Friend of slain Lee’s Summit officer remembers him as a loyal, respectful man with unforgettable smile

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One week after an off-duty, Lee’s Summit police officer was shot and killed on the patio of a Westport restaurant— one of the officer’s friends is sharing her grief about the loss for the first time. Investigators say on the night of August 20, Officer Thomas Orr III was an innocent bystander, caught in the gunplay of a fight on the patio of Californos.

“I think more than anything I just want people to know how loved he was,” the friend told FOX 4’s Robert Townsend. “I think that’s one of the reasons why I liked him because he was so honest and loyal, and he was really respectful.”

Her eyes swelled with tears as she thinks about Orr, a gentle giant of sorts, who she knew for about a year.

“I just keep telling everybody that he was the best. He really was,” she said.

For the past week she says she’s been overcome with unbelievable pain and sudden heartbreak.

“Right now, I’m praying for the strength to get up out of bed every day,” she said.

Orr was off-duty and working as a freelance photographer during a private party at Californos when two men first argued, then gunshots rang out. The 30-year-old school resource officer was struck and killed, she says she last talked to him early that Sunday morning.

“It was just good morning, that was his thing every day. He would just tell me good morning,” she said. “That’s the hardest part, because I don’t know what to do.”

The officer’s killer still hasn’t been caught.

“I’m sure that somebody somewhere knows exactly who it was. I just know that getting angry won’t bring him back.”

So far police say only 22 tips have come in since the deadly shooting, if you know anything, call KCPD or the TIPS Hotline at (816) 474-TIPS.