Louisville, KY – Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) Officer Martez Hughes died on Thursday afternoon after suffering an apparent heart attack, according to police.
The off-duty 49-year-old officer was playing tennis in Chickasaw Park when the “cardiac event” occurred, LMPD Sergeant John Bradley told the Courier Journal.
Officer Hughes was rushed to a local hospital, where he passed away just before 4 p.m.
“It is with heart breaking sadness I must tell you we have today lost a dear family member,” LMPD Chief Yvette Gentry said in a press release on Friday. “Officer Hughes’ service, commitment, and dedication to his community will forever remain a testament to his professional and personal legacy. He will be missed!”
Officer Hughes, an 11-year veteran of the department, was assigned to the 6th Division at the time of his death, the Courier Journal reported.
He was also a member of the LMPD’s Special Response Team, which resulted in him being heavily involved in responding to the protests and riots that took place over the summer, according to WLKY.
“You can’t replace him,” LMPD Detective Jay Moss told WLKY. “Everyone gets into police work and the first thing they say is, ‘I want to help the community.’ Well he believed it. He lived it.”
In addition to his law enforcement service, Officer Hughes also spent many years volunteering as a tennis coach and mentor for at-risk youth, the Courier Journal reported.
“His beliefs led him to always see that a struggle is gateway to bettering one’s self,” longtime friend Matt Taylor told the paper. “[Officer Hughes was] a very caring person who was always open to community interaction to better police-community relations.”
Retired LMPD Sergeant Clayton Elliot, who has known Officer Hughes since they were children, told WLKY that the fallen officer “genuinely cared about the community and loved what he was doing.”
Officer Hughes leaves behind his wife, Sherry, and his daughter, Isabella, according to Chief Gentry.
— Lauren Adams (@WLKYLaurenAdams) November 20, 2020
.@LMPD Officer Martez Hughes died Thursday at the age of 49 following a medical incident. He joined the LMPD in 2009, working in the 6th Division. Keep his family and fellow officers in your thoughts and prayers. https://t.co/n5pdmV6NP5 #louisville #police #endofwatch pic.twitter.com/l61o0cHSch
— WLKY (@WLKY) November 20, 2020
— FBI Louisville (@FBILouisville) November 20, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Louisville Metropolitan Police Department Officer Martez Hughes, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.