Jefferson Parish, LA – Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) Detective Stephen Arnold died in the line of duty on Sunday due to gunshot wounds he suffered more than five years earlier.
Det. Arnold, who was 35 years old at the time of the Jan. 26, 2016, attack, remained in a coma until his death on May 23, The Times-Picayune reported.
The shooting occurred as Det. Arnold and several other members of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Task Force he was assigned to were serving a warrant at a residence located in the 3500-block of Douglas Street in New Orleans, according to WWL.
The officers knocked on the door and received no response, so they forced entry, The Times-Picayune reported.
The suspect, Jarvis Hardy, was waiting on the other side of the door.
He opened fire on the team, hitting Det. Arnold five times, The Times Picayune reported.
Hardy, who was in possession of crack cocaine, later claimed he didn’t know the people who forced their way into his home were law enforcement officers until after he opened fire on them.
He ultimately pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the attack and is currently serving a 35-year sentence, The Times-Picayune reported.
Det. Arnold was rushed to a hospital, but his brain had been deprived of oxygen for a half hour in the interim.
He remained in a coma for the rest of his life.
Det. Arnold succumbed to his injuries on Sunday while living in a nursing home, The Times-Picayune reported.
The JPSO announced the 12-year department veteran’s death later the same day.
“During his time with JPSO, Detective Arnold was well-known and held in the highest regard by his peers,” the sheriff’s office said. “His commitment to serving our community was the standard we all strive to meet.”
Det. Arnold was awarded many commendations during his career, to include an Award for Valor, two Distinguished Service Awards, and a Purple Heart.
He will be posthumously awarded the JPSO Medal of Honor, the sheriff’s office said.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joe Lopinto said Det. Arnold “was just a great overall guy,” The Times-Picayune reported.
“He was not only a leader, but a leader on the narcotics (division), being assigned to the DEA task force and always answering the call for duty and in this community,” Sheriff Lopinto added.
Det. Arnold’s family released a statement thanking the community for their support, WDSU reported.
“We are saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Stephen,” the statement read. “We could not be prouder of the life he led. We have been comforted by the outpouring of support from near and far and know his friends and law enforcement family feel the same. We ask that our privacy be respected so that we may mourn our loved one in peace.”
Det. Arnold will be laid to rest on June 1.
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