HAMMOND, La. (WGNO) — On Friday, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office released a press release stating that two deputies died due to COVID-19 complications.
“It is with much sadness and a heavy heart that we share 59-year-old Sergeant Gerald Sopsher and 69 year- old Deputy Donnie Booty, both passed away this week in hospital beds,” reported Sheriff Daniel Edwards.
That would make Booty the fourth TSPO deputy to lose their life to COVID-19.
Gerald Sopsher was a veteran for 13 years, he served as a Sergeant at the Tangipahoa Parish Jail. Sopsher was known throughout the department for his loyal and dedicated service. He spent most of his adult life serving and caring for members of the community. “Covid has taken a dear friend from our ranks,” said Edwards.
Sopsher was immensely loved and respected by his peers and will be greatly missed. “We will always be grateful for his service and he will never be forgotten.”
Deputy Donnie Booty spent the past three years serving as a bailiff at the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse. He is described as being an extremely kind and generous person. Mr. Booty loved serving the community. “His loss leaves a void and pain in our hearts,” said Edwards.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office has worked extensively on enhancing safety protocols, providing educational material and training their deputies on the dangers of this deadly virus and ways to reduce the spread.
“Like anything else, it’s a personal decision that someone makes,” stated Chief Jimmy Travis. “Our goal is to help make Tangipahoa Parish safer and healthier. Although we feel it’s best for people to get vaccinated, by no means is it department policy.”