A police officer from Columbia, South Carolina, died after suffering cardiac arrest during SWAT team training on Saturday.
Master Police Officer (MPO) Tyrell Owens Riley had a medical emergency while doing a Specialized Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Assessment with the Columbia Police Department (CPD), Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook announced.
“During the physical fitness training portion of the assessment, MPO Owens Riley became ill,” CPD said in a statement.
Officer Riley was taken by EMS to Providence Hospital where he experienced a cardiac arrest and could not be saved.
“A Columbia native, MPO Owens Riley has served with CPD for the past 7 ½ years and was most recently assigned as a patrol officer in Metro Region. Prior to his law enforcement career with CPD, Owens Riley served with distinction with the United States Marine Corps,” CPD said.
The funeral arrangements have not been finalized.
Riley’s mother, Sauna Riley, also posted about the sad news on social media and asked people to respect their privacy.
“FB Family my heart is broken, but I just want to inform you all that earlier today my oldest son Tyrell Owens-Riley passed away, my family & I are devastated by our loss, please keep my family in prayer as we grieve & process our loss…Please do not ask us what happened,” Sauna Riley said.
Tributes have poured in following Officer Tyrell Riley’s death.
“Tonight, we share the devastatingly sorrowful news that #ColumbiaPDSC Master Police Officer Tyrell Owens-Riley passed away today. We ask for thoughts and prayers for his family, friends and the CPD,” CPD posted.
“Our deepest condolences. Our hearts go out to Officer Owens-Riley’s family, the entire CPD team and the Columbia community. We are here for you all,” University of South Carolina Police wrote.
CPD’s official Facebook page also updated its cover photo to honor Officer Riley.
No information is still available about what caused the medical emergency.
Back in October 2021, the number of vaccinated city employees in Columbia, South Carolina jumped from around 50% to 72%, WLTX reported.
Since announcing the vaccine mandate for employees, the @CityofColumbia says the number of vaccinated employees has jumped from 50% to 72%.
As of today, 70% of CPD is vaccinated and CRFD is at 55%… The city is aiming to get everyone vaccinated by Nov. 1. @WLTX
— Julia Kauffman (@JuliaKauffmanTV) October 8, 2021
Roughly 60% of the Columbia Fire Department is fully vaccinated and about 70% of the police department is, according to City Manager Teresa Wilson, WISTV reported.
“However, on [November 1, 2021] those two departments and the entire City of Columbia workforce of more than 2,000 employees will be under a vaccine mandate,” the outlet reported.
“We are having to look at this strictly from a provision of services perspective in that we are public servants working for an organization or municipality to keep the water clean, has to keep the trash picked up, protect people, be first responders. So when you factor that in, the directive is coming from that place. It is not trying to infringe on your personal rights,” Wilson said.