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HPD Officer Ernest Leal, Jr. dies after battling COVID-19

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Senior Police Officer Ernest Leal Jr., 60, died Friday after battling the coronavirus since October.

HOUSTON — Houston Police misplaced one among their very own Friday to COVID-19.

Senior Police Officer Ernest Leal Jr., 60, died Friday after battling the coronavirus since October.

Officer Leal had served with HPD since 1984. He began his HPD profession within the Northeast Patrol Division and within the Jail Division. He moved to the North Patrol Division in 1989 the place he had served ever since. Officer Leal was part of a 13-person Differential Response Unit which focuses on attending to the foundation of public nuisance crimes like unlawful playing, unlawful dumping and unlawful therapeutic massage parlors.

“We now have really misplaced a person who defines what it means to be a public servant,” Chief Artwork Acevedo mentioned in a press release.

Officer Leal leaves behind his spouse, Dee, and youngsters Victor, Veronica, Virginia and Vannessa. He’s additionally survived by his mom, Rosa, two brothers, David and Marcus, and sister, Brenda. Officer Leal was preceded in loss of life by his father, Ernest.

Officer Leal and Dee, a retired Houston police officer, are group volunteers. Officer Leal usually connects with neighbors via Nationwide Evening Out occasions. Earlier within the pandemic, he attended a car parade within the Shepherd Forest Subdivision.

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Officer Leal is HPD’s fifth line-of-duty loss of life up to now 12 months and the division’s first from COVID-19. Over the previous few weeks, native regulation enforcement has misplaced a number of officers— some taken whereas within the line of obligation and others to the coronavirus.

Not less than 4 COVID-related deaths of officers have been confirmed this 12 months, together with three veteran Harris County sheriff’s deputies and a Harris County Precinct 5 constable deputy.

Mayor Sylvester Turner launched the next assertion on Officer Leal’s loss of life, in addition to the loss of life of Joel Cirilo, a public works worker who died Wednesday after battling COVID-19.

“Mayor Sylvester Turner tonight sends his condolences to the households of two Metropolis of Houston workers who died this week because of COVID-19.  

“Houston Public Works (HPW) worker Joel Cirilo handed away on Wednesday, Nov. 25, after bravely preventing COVID-19 within the hospital for the previous week. Cirilo started his profession within the Code Enforcement Division on Might 12, 2014. His spouse can also be an HPW worker. In a press release tonight, Veronica Cirilo mentioned, ‘Joel will likely be missed a lot. He cherished his job and our co-workers. He fought so courageously, however this virus has no mercy. Praying that 2021 brings no extra heartache on account of COVID-19. I’m grateful for thus many blessings Joel and I shared via the years.’

“Friday night, the Houston Police Division (HPD) introduced Senior Officer Ernest Leal Jr.’s line of obligation loss of life on account of COVID-19. Officer Leal joined HPD in 1984 and served with honor and compassion.

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“As a metropolis, we collectively mourn and really feel the grief and heartache of dropping two workers in the identical week because of COVID-19. I ask all Houstonians to wish for the households of Officer Ernest Leal and Joel Cirilo. In their very own method, they contributed to our metropolis and made life higher for all of us. I’m grateful for his or her dedication and repair to the Metropolis of Houston,” mentioned Mayor Turner. “COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. It’s an insidious virus that has claimed far too many lives in Houston and across the nation. Every of us should do our half to cease the virus from spreading and destroying households.

“For the reason that starting of the pandemic, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 9 municipal workers, three Houston firefighters, and one Houston police officer.

“The Mayor reminds everybody to proceed to masks up, follow social distancing, wash their arms ceaselessly, and get examined.”

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