published Monday, July 7th, 2014

Indiana police officer found shot dead in patrol car

GARY, Ind. — A Gary police officer was found shot to death Sunday in his patrol car and three people, including one person of interest, were taken into custody, authorities said.

Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield was found dead about 5:45 a.m. after a citizen called police and reported an officer bleeding in his car, police spokeswoman Cpl. Gabrielle King told The Associated Press.

Westerfield, whose 47th birthday was Sunday, was pronounced dead at the scene in a residential area about a block south of Roosevelt High School, officers said.

Police Chief Wade Ingram Jr. told the The (Munster) Times that investigators took the person of interest and two others into custody. No charges were announced and a motive for the shooting wasn't immediately clear. Ingram said his department was interviewing the three people and would release more information at a Monday press conference.

Ingram said Westerfield had responded to a call in the area where he was found dead a few hours earlier.

The last Gary police officer killed in the line of duty was Patrolman Benjamin Wilcher Jr., whose car crashed during an August 2007 pursuit.

Sam Abegg, president of the Gary Fraternal Order of Police, said he worked with Westerfield for five years when he was in patrol and that everyone loved working with him.

"He was someone you wanted to have there with you," Abegg told the Post-Tribune.

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