ROCKWALL, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Rockwall Police Officer Tracy Gaines passed away early Monday morning due to complications from COVID-19.
Officer Gaines was a school resource officer at the high school and an Air Force veteran.
After a week dealing with the virus at home, he was admitted to a local hospital on July 11 and had undergone various treatments to try and mitigate the effects of the illness.
He was put on life support around July 21.
Officer Gaines was hired as a Rockwall Police Officer in September of 2005 and most recently served as a School Resource Officer at Rockwall High School.
During his career, he also served as a School Resource Officer at Williams Middle School and he was a Field Training Officer in the Patrol Division.
In honor of Officer Gaines' service to the citizens of Rockwall, a squad car has been placed at Wilkerson-Sanders Memorial Stadium located at 1215 T.L. Townsend Drive as a memorial.
"Overall, it's just devastating. You know, we knew he was going through a hard time. We were all praying. We thought he'd get through it," said student Roxy Thompson.
"Every day I'd walk into school and he'd be the first person I'd see and he'd always smile and wave," said student Sam Jorden.
Jordan brought flowers to the memorial for the man she said always brightened her day.
"Such an amazing person. He left such a big mark on Rockwall and I know we're all going to miss him so much," she said.
The Rockwall Police Department said Officer Gaines also had a distinguished military career serving 20 years with the Air Force prior to becoming a police officer.
"We are heartbroken," said Rockwall Police Chief Max Geron in a tweet. "Tracy Gaines was a lifelong servant leader. He was a husband and a father. He was beloved by the students at Rockwall HS whom he protected and mentored as an SRO and will be dearly missed by his Rockwall police family and this city as a whole."
"The Rockwall Police Department is grateful for the incredible outpouring of support for his wife and two sons," the department said in a news release Monday afternoon.
Donations to help the family financially can be made here.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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