AUSTIN, Texas — A second Austin police officer has died from COVID-19, according to KVUE Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski.
The Austin Police Association said Thursday in an email to the department that Sgt. Steve Urias died from COVID-19 complications.
"Our sincere condolences to the Urias family, his friends and working colleagues. His service to our department and community will forever be remembered," APA President Ken Casaday said in the email.
This comes one day after the APD announced Senior Patrol Officer Randolph Boyd had also died from COVID-19 complications.
Urias and Boyd were among two officers in the hospital due to the virus and among 41 currently on leave because they are currently ill or recovering.
Nationally, more officers have died of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 than any other cause, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
In May, state lawmakers passed a bill allowing officers' families to have access to line-of-duty death benefits if they die of COVID-19, making it presumptive that they contracted the virus on the job.
Interim Chief Joseph Chacon released the following statement on Twitter:
"Today, Senior Sergeant Steve Urias lost his battle with COVID-19, and passed away while fighting the good fight. This is the second line-of-duty death from COVID in as many days with our department, and frankly, it is hard for me to express my grief. Steve was a friend, and honorably served [with Austin police] for over 31 yrs. He was nearing retirement when this horrible disease struck him and his family. He was a wonderful officer, husband, father and friend. He will be missed by us all. He is survived by his wife and two adult children. As with Randy’s death yesterday, this is a tragic moment. Keep both of them and their families in your thoughts and prayers. The COVID-19 variant has proven more dangerous than previous surges, and we have many staff who are infected with the virus, and a few hospitalized still fighting. I have to take a moment to remind everyone to take all precautions to keep yourself safe and to keep the virus from spreading."
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