The Riverside police officer struck by lightning while helping with the Joplin tornado died this morning at a Springfield hospital. Jefferson “Jeff” Taylor, who volunteered to go to Joplin, was 31 years old. He is the first Riverside officer ever to die in the line of duty.
“We are heartbroken,” Riverside Police Chief Greg Mills said today in a statement. “Our department, our community and law enforcement as a whole have lost a dedicated professional doing what he did best — helping those who were in need. The fragility of life gives way to the enduring spirit Jeff showed to us all. Our department will never be the same.”