Independence police mourn fellow officer killed in freak hunting accident

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James Lockard, an Independence, Mo. police officer was riding an ATV when a tree fell on him and killed him while he was out deer hunting.

James Lockard, an Independence, Mo. police officer was riding an ATV when a tree fell on him and killed him while he was out deer hunting.

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Police brought a fallen officer home Monday morning after he died over the weekend in a freak hunting accident in Gentry County, Missouri.

Friends say after killing a deer, James Lockard was riding on an all-terrain vehicle to retrieve it when a tree fell on top of him and crushed his body. He suffered multiple internal injuries and passed away Sunday at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo.

On Monday, a law enforcement motorcade escorting James Lockard's body paused outside Independence police headquarters before continuing to a funeral home. About 100 friends and co-workers took a moment to pay their respects.

Lockard was well liked by his colleagues. They said it's a huge loss, as officers are taking time to console each other.

"Several of our employees are certainly upset and he will be sorely missed," said Capt. Paul Thurman, an Independence police commander. "It's the least we can do to show our respect to an officer who has fallen, especially in a manner that's so unusual as this."

The opening weekend of deer hunting season is a tradition among many Missouri families, and Lockard was out hunting with his father when the accident happened.

A memorial fund has been set up at Code One Credit Union. See below.

James Lockard Memorial Fund
c/o Code One Credit Union
PO Box 270020
Kansas City, MO 64127

Earlier Coverage: 

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