Joplin, MO – Joplin Police Department (JPD) Officer Mike Gayman died on April 6 after suffering a heart attack while at the gym on April 1, according to his department.
Bystanders at the gym, including a JPD corporal, immediately rendered medical aid until Officer Gayman could be transported to Freeman Hospital by ambulance, the JPD said in a press release on Wednesday.
The veteran officer “fought hard over the last several days, however he could not overcome the damage that had already been sustained,” the police department said on Wednesday.
Prior to joining the JPD in 1999, Officer Gayman worked for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, the police department said.
He served 30 years with the JPD as a detective, patrol officer, bailiff, and SWAT member before retiring on Jan. 4, 2019.
Officer Gayman returned to work as an Airport Police Officer for the City of Joplin soon thereafter and remained in that capacity until his unexpected death.
“We ask that you will keep his wife and children, along with the men and women of the Joplin Police Department and Joplin Regional Airport, in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the JPD said.
Hundreds of people extended their condolences to the JPD and Officer Gayman’s family in the wake of the department’s announcement on Facebook.
One person noted that the longtime lawman was “probably one of the best officers” they had ever met.
“Joplin was honored with is service,” the post read.
“Mike Gayman was a gentleman and a friend. He wore the badge well,” another message said. “I’m so saddened for this enormous loss. I’m deeply sorry for the continued loss for JPD. My prayers backed all of you before. They back you daily now. May God grant you all comfort, peace, and protection.”
Others described Officer Gayman as humorous, compassionate, “steady-minded,” and “one of the best of the best.”
Congratulations to Officer Mike Gayman on his retirement from @JoplinPD after 20 years of service to the citizens of @JoplinCity. Officer Gayman has been in law enforcement for a total of 30 years! You have earned it! pic.twitter.com/vZ3Yx1yc6V
— Matt Stewart-Executive Director (@Matt_StewartCAC) January 4, 2019
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Joplin Police Department Officer Mike Gayman, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.