Hinds County Sheriff Lee D. Vance died Wednesday in his home, according to a statement tweeted by the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office.

At about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, an ambulance responded to a medical emergency at Vance’s home, according to the statement. When medical personnel arrived, he was found unresponsive and pronounced dead by noon.

Vance tested positive for COVID-19 on July 22 although he was fully vaccinated. He was in quarantine and recovering at his home.

It has not yet been confirmed whether Vance died of COVID-19 or complications related to the coronavirus.

Vance reported a COVID-19 outbreak on July 21 at the Raymond Detention Facility and Work Center, facilities overseen by the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. Officials confirmed 74 COVID-19 cases — 14 employees and 60 detained people — after random rapid testing was conducted.

Other employees within the HCSO also tested positive for COVID-19 and were in quarantine, though the official number of people was not available at the time, HCSO Captain Tyree Jones said in an email.

Vance’s death comes as the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19 rapidly spreads across the state, causing a “fourth wave” of coronavirus infections in Mississippi. Mississippi emergency room visits by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients is now the highest it’s been since the pandemic began in early 2020.

Vance was elected Hinds County Sheriff in 2019 and had previously worked with the Jackson Police Department for over 30 years, including serving as police chief from 2014 to 2017.

“The City of Jackson collectively grieves the loss of Hinds County Sheriff Lee Vance and sends its prayers to his family…His lifetime of service spanned from serving as a JPD officer to later rising up the ranks to become JPD chief of police and finally serving as our beloved sheriff. Sheriff Vance was not only a friend to our city, but I considered him a personal friend of mine…Our prayers are with his family and all of those who were touched by his life,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said in a statement published Wednesday.

READ MORE: COVID-related emergency room visits higher than any point as virus rips through Mississippi


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Brittany Brown was Mississippi Today’s Justice Reporter, covering the state’s justice system with an eye for racial justice and inequity. Brittany formerly served as Mississippi Today's inaugural Emerging Reporters Fellow.