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Hero Down: Jacksonville Sheriff’s Recruit Tony Cephas Dies During Police Academy

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Recruit Tony Cephas was 10 days into his law enforcement academy training.

Jacksonville, FL – Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) Recruit Tony Cephas died on March 28, when he experienced a “medical episode” during his training at the police academy.

Recruit Cephas, 43, was 10 days into his basic training at the Florida State College at Jacksonville law enforcement academy when the medical emergency struck, according to WTLV.

One of his instructors noticed that the recruit appeared to be in pain, and called for paramedics who were already staged for the training session, JSO’s Director of investigations and Homeland Security Ron Lendvay said during a press conference.

Recruit Cephas was rushed to the Baptist North Hospital, where he passed away.

The aspiring deputy was a military veteran, and had done well in all of his training exercises at the academy, Director Lendvay said.

“At this point, his death appears to be the result of some type of medical episode,” the director added.

His cause of death will be determined by an autopsy.

Recruit Cephas leaves behind his wife of 16 years, Tanisha, and their two children, according to a fundraising campaign established to assist his family in the wake of their loss.

“He told me from a younger age…if anything ever happened to him, he wanted me to be the man of the house and to take control,” his 15-year-old son, Isaiah, told WJAX. “And I’m trying the best I can right now without falling apart. I’m trying to be here for them right now.”

He said his father had a “good heart,” and that “people just gravitated to him.”

More than anything, Isaiah said he wishes he could thank his father one more time.

“I know he lived an amazing life. He helped so many people. He changed hearts of so many people, as well,” he said. “So, I guess that’s what getting me through right now, because he was an amazing person.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Recruit Tony Cephas, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

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

Holly Matkin - April Wed, 2019


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