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Hero Down: LASD Reserve Detective Harry Morton Dies Unexpectedly

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Reserve Detective Harry Morton served his department for 11 years.

Beverly Hills, CA – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Reserve Detective Harry Morton died unexpectedly on Nov. 23.

The 38-year-old reserve detective was also the founder of the highly-successful Pink Taco restaurant chain, and was the son of Hard Rock Café co-founder Peter Morton, according to Page Six.

He previously owned the world-famous Viper Room with Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, and had dated actresses Jennifer Aniston and Lindsay Lohan, as well as singer Britney Spears, KCBS reported.

Det. Morton’s younger brother found him unresponsive inside his $25 million Beverly Hills mansion on Nov. 23, according to Page Six.

He was pronounced dead at 5:28 p.m., KCBS reported.

An autopsy was conducted on Monday, but his exact cause of death has not been released.

Police said there was no evidence of foul play, People reported.

The reserve detective underwent surgery to repair a deviated septum weeks before he passed away, but investigators have not indicated that the procedure played any role in his unexpected death, according to TMZ.

Det. Morton never spoke of his wealth or high-profile social connections during the 11 years he served with the sheriff’s office, LASD Sergeant Michael Yocum told KCBS.

“I know he loved what he did,” Sgt. Yocum told the news outlet. “He was extremely dedicated at what he did. He was absolutely down-to-earth, very humble.”

As a reserve detective, he was required to work at least 20 hours per week, but his hours far surpassed that, Sgt. Yocum noted.

“[He put in] unreal amounts of time,” the sergeant said. “I’ve never seen a reserve like him other than his partner. Both of them put in a lot of hours.”

And it wasn’t for the money – Det. Morton earned just $1 per year for his service.

In 2018, he and his partner, Reserve Detective Charles Ferraro, were named Reserve Detectives of the Year by the LASD, KCBS reported.

Det. Ferraro said he had pushed his then-lieutenant to assign the young deputy to the detective’s unit.

“He’s very bright and very energetic and really knows computers and is extremely smart,” Det. Ferraro recalled having told his superior officer.

He and Det. Morton had been partners ever since.

Det. Ferraro said that Det. Morton made it a point to avoid being recognized while they were out working cases, KCBS reported.

“He didn’t want anybody to know,” Det. Ferraro explained. “When interviewing people, and someone would recognize him, he would let me take the lead. He was very unassuming, very self-conscious of his background. He never once used it.”

Det. Morton was a valued and respected member of the department, and will be “sorely missed” by everyone, Det. Ferraro told KCBS.

Pink Taco also released a statement in the wake of Det. Morton’s sudden death.

“We are saddened by the passing of Harry Morton, the founder and former owner of Pink Taco,” the company said, according to KCBS. “Harry was a visionary and restaurateur ahead of his time, and his contributions, both professionally to our brand and personally to those he worked with, were numerous. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Detective Harry Morton, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

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

Holly Matkin - November Tue, 2019


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