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MN Sheriff's Deputy Dies Of COVID-19 Complications, Gov. Orders Flags At Half-Staff Friday

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A Minnesota sheriff's deputy died after battling COVID-19 for more than two weeks. Flags will be flown at half-staff in his honor.

The Itasca County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Deputy Jayme Williams, 41, died early Monday morning.

"Deputy Williams will always be remembered for his kind and fair approach to the community he served as a law enforcement officer. We mourn his passing and send our deepest condolences to his family and partners in law enforcement during this difficult time," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

According to an online fundraiser for funeral expenses, Williams, who had the nickname Rooster, fell ill with COVID-19 on Dec. 11. Four days later, his wife brought him to the Deer River Emergency Room, where doctors kept him until an ICU bed opened up in Virginia.

itasca sheriff
Jayme L. Williams on the far right. (credit: Jayme L. Williams GoFundMe)

On Dec. 16, Williams was transferred. But while in the hospital, his symptoms worsened. The day after Christmas, he began suffering severe stomach pain. An MRI showed a laceration on his liver, possibly from coughing so hard.

Early Monday morning, Williams went into surgery. However, the bleeding couldn't be stopped. He died that morning.

The New Ulm Police Department also confirmed that he died of COVID-19 complications.

Williams leaves behind a wife and three children, ages 12, 14 and 17.

Services will be held on Friday at Marcell Community Center starting at 10 a.m. Gov. Tim Walz announced that flags will be flown at half-staff in Williams' honor from sunrise to sunset.

"Deputy Sheriff Williams was a dedicated public servant who was respected by his family, friends, and colleagues," reads the proclamation issued by Walz. "With its deepest gratitude, the State of Minnesota recognizes Deputy Sheriff Williams for his dedicated service to, and sacrifice for, his fellow Minnesotans, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and entire community."

The deputy is the second Minnesota law enforcement officer to die of COVID-19 this month. New York Mills Police Officer Ronald Smith died on Dec. 15.

According to the governor's office, Smith contracted COVID-19 while working in the line of duty. Last Tuesday, flags were flown at half-staff in remembrance of him.

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