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Hero Down: LACSD Det. Amber Leist Fatally Hit By Car While Helping Elderly Woman

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Detective Amber Joy Leist died in the line of duty on Sunday morning.

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LACSD) Detective Amber Joy Leist died in the line of duty on Sunday morning, when she was fatally struck by a vehicle after she stopped to help an elderly woman cross the street.

The off-duty detective was driving near the intersection of Whitsett Avenue and Riverside Drive in the Valley Village neighborhood at approximately 11 a.m., when she saw the elderly woman stumble and fall to the ground while she tried to make her way across the street, KABC reported.

Det. Leist, who was in the left-turn lane at the time, “put her vehicle in park, got out of her vehicle, and she went to assist the pedestrian,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during a press conference on Sunday night.

“That’s a quintessential deputy sheriff right there,” he said of Det. Leist’s actions.

The 41-year-old detective helped the woman to safety and was making her way back to her own car when the light at the intersection turned green.

An eastbound motorist then slammed into her. The driver remained at the scene and tried to render aid to the injured detective, Los Angeles Police Department Commander Marc Reina said during the press conference.

Det. Leist was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her body was escorted to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office by a procession of dozens of law enforcement vehicles, KABC reported.

“Today the LA County Sheriff’s Department is grieving,” Sheriff Villanueva said on Sunday night. “We are shocked and stunned by the sudden loss of a family member.”

“She was an outstanding detective who would lead by example, and she definitely led by example through her act of kindness,” he said. “We consider this an on-duty death.”

Det. Leist, a 12-year veteran-of-the-force, was most recently assigned to the West Hollywood station, where she had served for five years, KABC reported.

She previously worked as a school resource officer, deputy, and corrections officer for the LACSD.

“This is a sad day for us,” Sheriff Villanueva said.

Det. Leist leaves behind her two sons, ages 17 and 20, as well as her parents. Her eldest son is currently on active duty with the U.S. Navy.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Amber Joy Leist, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

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

Holly Matkin - January Wed, 2020


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