Liberty County deputy recovering from being shot passes away from apparent heart attack

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LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas — Liberty County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Whitten, who was recovering from being shot, has passed away.

An autopsy will be done, but at this point, they believe he passed away from a heart attack Monday afternoon while he was in physical therapy in the Texas Medical Center.

In May 2019, Whitten was shot while trying to apprehend an armed murder suspect who had just killed a woman and injured two others in Liberty County. When the suspect shot Whitten, the bullet went into his neck and hit his spine, paralyzing him.

His passing came as a shock as he was making big improvements in physical therapy.

Sheriff Bobby Rader said Whitten was as a true hero and a good man.

“A man that everyone loved. He kept in his patrol car, I was telling the chief, he kept dog food and cat food and food for people and he helped the stray dogs and cats and helped all the people that were homeless. He was just a very, very good man and it’s a very tragic loss for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office and all law enforcement," Rader explained.

Rader said he found out on Friday that Whitten was named Officer of the Year by the 100 Club and that he called him Monday to tell him the good news, but sadly, he did not get to talk to him.

Rader went on to ask for prayers for Deputy Whitten’s family and his law enforcement family.

Funeral arrangements have not been set yet.

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