LAUREL, MISS. – The City of Laurel mourns the loss of their police chief, Tyrone Stewart, who passed away Monday morning at 48-years-old.
Funeral arrangements are complete for Stewart. Visitation will take place January 31 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Chapel of Angels Funeral Home, located at 823 Martin Luther King Avenue in Laurel. More visitation will follow February 1 from 10 a.m. until noon at Life Church, located at 5021 Highway 84 -- just west of Laurel city limits. The funeral will be held February 1 at noon -- also at Life Church.
“It was a tremendous shock,” Laurel’s mayor, Johnny Magee said. “I had spoken with the chief, [and] he was in the hospital. I knew that, and he told me [that] he would be home [by] Friday. So, I thought he was at home until I got a call yesterday from his brother and [he] said they were calling the family in. I said, ‘Calling the family in?’”
Social media posts from the City of Laurel’s Facebook page provided updates about Stewart’s declining health. Updates on the account started Sunday night around 8pm and went all the way until Monday morning at 2:25am when Stewart passed away.
“Tyrone has been in law enforcement a long time, and touched a lot of people,” Jones County Sheriff, Alex Hodge said. “So, certainly this would be a very difficult time for everyone.”
Stewart’s career in law enforcement goes all the way back to 1994, and later he took over as Laurel’s police chief in 2011. Now, the city feels the hurt of Stewart’s absence, after he fought crime from the city for nearly 25 years.
In his memory, Monday morning flags waved at half-staff, black and blue decorations covered the outside of the police station, and his parking spot remained vacant.
“He was in my opinion, a great chief, a great person, and just a great human being,” Magee said.
In the meantime, Magee appointed Deputy Chief Billy Chandler, Capt. Tommy Cox, and Capt. Shane Valentine to lead the department.
Currently, the City of Laurel is actively looking for Stewart’s replacement and according to Magee, he hopes to find a qualified candidate as soon as possible.