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Hero Down: Columbia PD Master Police Officer Tyrell Owens-Riley Dies After Suffering Medical Emergency During SWAT Training

Columbia, SC – Columbia Police Department (CPD) Master Police Officer Tyrell Owens-Riley died in the line of duty on Sept. 24 after suffering a medical emergency while participating in a training exercise, according to his department.

Officer Owens-Riley was taking part in the physical portion of the CPD’s Specialized Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) assessment when began feeling ill, CPD Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook said in a press release later that day.

He was rushed to Providence Hospital by emergency medical personnel, but went into cardiac arrest at the medical facility and could not be revived, Chief Holbrook said.

His exact cause of death was not immediately released.

The chief said Officer Owens-Riley was a “dedicated” public servant and that he was announcing his death with a heavy heart.

Officer Owens-Riley, a Columbia native, “served with distinction” in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to joining the CPD more than seven years ago, Chief Holbrook said.

He was most recently assigned to the agency’s Metro Region.

Officer Owens-Riley also inspired others to dedicate their lives to serving others, his friend, Braylyn Salmond, told WLTX.

“Every time I’d see him, he’d ask me, ‘Man you put in your application in yet? I believe in you, you can do it,’” Salmond recalled.

He said Officer Owens-Riley “will never be forgotten” and that he leaves behind a “great legacy” at the CPD, WLTX reported.

Flags have been lowered to half-staff at police headquarters in honor of Officer Owens-Riley’s life of service.

Mourners have been placing flowers on his patrol vehicle, which was parked out front out the CPD on Saturday night.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Columbia Police Department Master Police Officer Tyrell Owens-Riley, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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