The fiancée of a Gary police officer who was killed while on-duty Sunday said "something seriously needs to be done" about the city’s violence.
"Something’s got to stop," said Denise Cather. "I want the man or the kids or whoever it is [that killed Jeffery Westerfield] caught."
Officer Jeffery Brady Westerfield, 47, was found fatally shot in a parked squad car while on-duty on his 47th birthday near 26th Avenue and Van Buren Street, officials said.
“I ran out the door and said ‘Just please tell it’s not Jeff’ and they all put their heads down and said ‘It’s him,’” Cather said.
Officials said Westerfield was a 19-year veteran on the force. He has four daughters and was engaged to be married.
They believe the shooting may have stemmed from an earlier call in the area, possibly for a report of shots fired,” according to Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram.
"We believe he was searching the area for a suspect," Ingram said.
"It is a tremendous loss to the department," said 5th District Councilwoman Kimberly Robinson.
A close friend of Westerfield, Larry Lauderdale, said he never wanted to pull his gun on suspects and would talk to them about finding a better life and making better choices.
Cather said her fiancé had planned to retire next August. The couple, who had been engaged for two years, was going to go to dinner Sunday for Westerfield's birthday.
“They took my world away,” Cather said. “They took my best man away…they just took him.”
A Lake County Sheriff's Office spokesperson said three people were taken into custody for questioning as officials followed up on several leads.