Incident DetailsCause of Death:
Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield was found shot to death, on his 47th birthday, while sitting in his patrol car by a citizen.
Responding officers discovered Patrolman Westerfield had suffered a single gunshot wound to the head in his parked patrol car on 26th Avenue east of Van Buren Place. His service weapon was holstered and five .40-caliber shell casings were found outside of his patrol car. Patrolman Westerfield had last responded, with other officers, to a domestic disturbance call in which shots were fired about two hours earlier.
Two suspects were taken into custody later that afternoon during a search of the nearby area. A 25-year-old male was charged with murder and later pleaded guilty to be spared the death penalty. In February 2017, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Patrolman Westerfield was survived by his four daughters, Alexandra, Cheyenne, Katie and Rachel; son, Brady; and fiancée Denise Sheaks-Cather, whom he was engaged to have married the following month.
United States Army
Patrolman Westerfield was the third of four Indiana law enforcement officers killed in 2014, the 14th line of duty death of the Gary Police Department and the 51st occurring in Lake County.