MANDEVILLE, LA (WVUE) - "Vaughn was a good cop, but he was a better person," said Mandeville's Assistant Chief of Police Ron Ruple.
The Mandeville Police Department is mourning the loss of one of its own. Detective Lt. Minton "Vaughn" Whitehead lost his life Sunday evening.
"He was involved in an off-duty incident when he was working on another property. It wasn't his own. He had fallen from a ladder and had a head injury," Police Chief Gerald Sticker said.
Whitehead fell about 20 feet while trimming trees near Folsom. He was airlifted to North Oaks Hospital near Hammond, where he died.
"We've lost 28 years of knowledge. That's something that can't be replaced to the younger guys like myself," Officer Eddie Vanison said.
"I've known Vaughn for 27 years, and we've worked together the whole time. We've spent a lot of time together. I've got to know his family, so this is hard," Ruple said.
While his brothers and sisters at the Mandeville Police Department are suffering, it's clear that the community is affected by his loss as well. Hundreds of comments are already posted on the Mandeville Police Department's Facebook page.
"He started in the patrol division and worked his way up through the ranks. His last assignment was in charge of the Criminal Investigation Unit," Sticker said.
"He was a family man. He loved his family. I don't think there was a day that I didn't talk to him where he didn't mention his kids. I can't remember a day that his wife didn't bring him lunch," Vanison said.
"It's a sense of loss. My heart goes out to his family," Detective Kevin Covert said.
Lt. Whitehead is described by fellow officers as a very caring person who always put others before himself. They weren't at all surprised he was helping someone else when he died.
"Because that was Vaughn. If you needed something, Vaughn was there," Ruple said.
"Vaughn never let us down, not in his 28 years here," Sticker said.