Police officer killed on duty on his birthday

Last Updated Jul 6, 2014 9:30 PM EDT

GARY, Ind. -- A veteran police officer was shot and killed on his 47th birthday as he responded to a report of shots fired, authorities said.

Three people have been taken into custody in connection with the death early Sunday of Officer Jeffrey Westerfield, the Lake County Sheriff's Office told CBS Chicago. One of those people was taken to a hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound. The circumstances surrounding that shooting were not immediately known.

Westerfield, who was working a night shift, was responding to a call of shots fired in the area of 26th Avenue and Van Buren Place, authorities said. A civilian called 911 at 5:45 a.m. after seeing the officer unresponsive in the driver's seat of his patrol car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Westerfield had served on the Gary Police Department for 19 years. He had four daughters and was engaged to be married. Sunday was his 47th birthday.

Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said Westerfield's colleagues were devastated.

"I have my command staff working on employee assistance for counseling for all of our officers. Many of our officers worked with Officer Westerfield for many years. He had been here almost 20 years, so the officers are just feeling a lot of deep hurt," said Ingram.

Westerfield was the first Gary police officer to be shot to death on duty since 1998.


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