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COVID-19 claims life of veteran Central Texas police officer

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 12:29 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) – COVID-19 has claimed the life of McLennan Community College police officer Ricky Roberts.

Roberts, 51, died Monday in a local hospital.

“The sudden and unexpected death of Officer Ricky Roberts is a tragedy that has taken our police department and the rest of the McLennan by surprise,” college President Dr. Johnette McKown said in a statement.

He will be greatly missed on the campus, not just by his colleagues at work, but also by the entire McLennan family including students, faculty, staff, and our Board of Trustees. We extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the Roberts’ family.”

MCC police Chief Clayton Williams, says Roberts was his first hire when he came on in 2018.

“We have the concept of community policing here at McLennan Community College, and it fit him so well because he loved to talk to people and get out into the community,” said Williams. “He was a great police officer, he’s going to be missed.”

About a week ago, Williams says Roberts went in to see the doctor to get treated for allergies and was told he tested positive for COVID-19.

“It was pretty devastating because it happened to quickly,” said Williams. “He was doing ‘ok’ through the week, we were checking on him, making sure he was fine, and the next thing we know he’s in the hospital and then we get the call that he passed away, so it’s pretty heart-wrenching, pretty devastating, and you know, here at MCC we have protocols everywhere for COVID and those type of things.”

Officers from law enforcement agencies throughout McLennan County escorted his body to Lake Shore Funeral Home Tuesday afternoon.

The procession passed through the MCC campus from North 19th Street along College Drive and then to Lake Shore Drive.

Officers from agencies throughout the county provided an escort for their fallen colleague.
Officers from agencies throughout the county provided an escort for their fallen colleague.(Bill Gowdy)

Roberts joined the MCC department in August 2018 after working for 15 years as an officer with the Texas State Technical College Police Department.

He leaves behind a wife, Amanda, and a 13-year-old daughter, Payton, along with countless friends and family members.

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His family, in a statement to KWTX, said Roberts “was the kindest, most giving, selfless person that anyone could ever encounter.”

“He loved like Jesus loved, and he served like Jesus served. He truly had a servant’s heart, and he positively impacted the lives and touched the hearts of everybody he met and came in contact with. The family really appreciates all of your thoughts and prayers at this time as we are trying to find peace with this huge hole that his passing has left in our lives.”

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