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April 17, 2017, 07:41:44 AM

Danville Officer Remembered as a Kind-Hearted Man Who Loved His Job

By Timothy Perry

January 18, 2016 - 4:00 PM

Danville Police Officer Thomas W. Cottrell

(Photo from the Danville Police Department Website)

DANVILLE - Comments across social media paint fallen Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell as a very kind-hearted man who lived and was actively involved in the Village and who loved being a police officer.

Friends, family, and local residents took to social media to express their shock and grief as they awoke to the tragic news today.

"Officer Cottrell was an amazing man", wrote Savannah Phillips in a Facebook post.  "He used to pick on me and I used to pick on him too, but we both knew its was out of love".

Coy Bissett wrote, "Words cannot describe how I feel about this loss. Tom was a good friend and a father figure to me for a good portion of my life. You will be missed Tom Cottrell RIP".

The word "hero", along with numerous pictures of Cottrell could frequently be seen.

Across Knox County, the state, and the nation, an outpouring of support for Cottrell's family and the police department is being demonstrated.

One local business, McFadden's Hotspot, in Danville, which is located near the Municipal Building, opened their door at 3 AM to give officers shelter from the cold and offer food.

Cliff Bigler, who is police chief at the Utica Police Department, where Cottrell had previously been employed, released the following statement this morning:

"Thomas W. Cottrell Jr., or as known to most as "Tom" was killed in the line of duty last night as he tended to his duties as a Danville Police Officer.

Tom worked for the Village of Utica Police Department until August 2014 and I will always remember his huge smile and his laugh. He said in his resignation, "Utica has been a crucial piece of my future so I have no regrets about my time here. I hope for the continued success of all officers and also their safety. I will always be there for them when the call to service is needed. I refuse to let my brothers in blue down. Once again, the best of luck to you and all the wonderful Officers you have on staff. I have no doubts they will do many great things in the future." These statements describe how Tom was. He cared for his comrades, this community and he always enjoyed being a Police Officer.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire family and his extended family within Law enforcement and Danville. God Bless You Officer Cottrell, may you walk the streets with Saint Michael and patrol your new jurisdiction in Heaven."

According to social media posts from friends, Cottrell had also been employed by the Thornville and Frazeysburg Police Departments, as well as working security jobs at Longaberger and New Albany Security. 

According to local residents, Officer Cottrell frequently worked the Sunday night shift in Danville and could often be seen on duty at school-related functions, such as ball games.

Danville Police released the following statement through their Neighborhood Watch Facebook page:

Your Danville Police dept would like to thank the entire village for all their support and prayers during this tragic time in our community. Your police dept is bonding together and grieving with you. We ask that you do only one thing for us. Join us in supporting and praying for the family that has been left behind. They are the ones who have born the greatest loss. thank you. God bless

Cottrell, 34, was gunned down last night shortly before midnight. According to Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer, the Knox County Emergency Dispatch Center received a call from a female in Danville stating that the police officers in Danville were in danger. She said that her ex-boyfriend, Herschel Ray Jones, had left with weapons and was looking to kill an officer. Dispatch personnel attempted to make contact with the Danville officer, but were unsuccessful. Deputies from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office then searched the village.  At approximately 11:47 pm deputies discovered Cottrell on the ground behind the Danville Municipal Building. Officer Cottrell was deceased. His service weapon had been taken and the cruiser was missing.

At approximately 1:36 am the suspect was observed running from a residence on East Washington St. After a short foot chase the suspect, identified as Herschel Jones III was taken into custody by officers in the area of the Danville Park. A female that was discovered outside of the residence was interviewed by officers and later released. 

The cruiser was later discovered in a remote area near the municipal building.

Officers from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Danville Police Department, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation are investigating the incident.

Herschel Jones Booking Photo

(Photo Provided by the Knox County Sheriff's Office)

The male who was arrested, Herschel Ray Jones, 32, of Danville, is charged with tampering with evidence. No murder charges have yet been filed.

Knox County Common Pleas and Mount Vernon Municipal Court records show that Jones has an extensive criminal history, with numerous past charges ranging from theft to assault. Jones is a convicted felon, having pled guilty in 2011 to receiving stolen property and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.

A GoFundme account has been set up by friends to assist the family of Officer Cottrell.

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