Riverside Missouri police officer injured in Joplin dies
Posted on Fri, Jun. 03, 2011 11:10 PM
Kansas City Star

The Riverside police officer struck by lightning while helping after the Joplin tornado died Friday morning in a Springfield hospital.

Jefferson “Jeff” Taylor, who volunteered to go to Joplin, was 31. He is the first Riverside officer to die in the line of duty.

“We are heartbroken,” Riverside Police Chief Greg Mills said 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.”

Taylor was one of a dozen emergency responders from Riverside who rushed to Joplin after the tornado hit May 22.

The next day, as thunderstorms moved through the area, lightning struck the ground near where he was working.

Taylor later underwent skin graft surgery and was being treated for other complications when he died at St. John’s Hospital.

Taylor joined the Riverside department in 2005 and was its Officer of the Year in 2008.