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Hero Down: Ohio DNR Officer Jason Lagore Dies Of Medical Emergency While Trying To Rescue Kids Who Fell Through Ice

Highland County, OH – Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Officer Jason Lagore died in the line of duty on Tuesday night while trying to rescue two children who had fallen through the ice.

The incident began at approximately 6:30 p.m., when officers received a call that two people had fallen through the ice near the North Shore boat docks at Rocky Fork State Park, the ODNR said in a press release on Wednesday afternoon.

A 13-year-old boy managed to get out of the icy water and was transported to the hospital in stable condition.

Divers were ultimately able to locate the second victim – a 16-year-old girl – but she was unresponsive, the ODNR said.

She had been trapped beneath the ice for four hours, The Enquirer reported.

The teen was pronounced dead at a local hospital, according to the ODNR.

As he was searching for the victims, 38-year-old Officer Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was transported to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro.

The 15-year law enforcement veteran was later pronounced dead, according to his agency.

The exact nature of his medical emergency has not been released.

“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Officer Jason Lagore, who died in the line of duty last night,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said in the press release. “Our law enforcement officers and their families carry a unique and challenging burden of responsibilities, and we are deeply grateful for their service.”

His agency described him as a “dedicated officer” who left a lasting impact on the department.

“He was responsible for the first ODNR K-9 academy, led the Division of Parks and Watercraft K-9 training program, and was well respected across the state for his expertise working with K-9s,” the ODNR said.

Officer Lagore leaves behind his wife, Michelle, his two young sons, and his partner, K9 Sarge.

“Broken ice and the frigid black water beneath can only be terrifying – Dante’s deepest circle of Hell is ice, and not flames,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a press release, according to WSYX.

“Officer Lagore acted with extreme courage to go to the rescue of these two kids; his example demonstrates the very highest valor,” Yost wrote. “My deepest sympathies are with his family, the family of the girl he could not rescue and his colleagues. I pray for comfort for all those who mourn.”

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered flags be lowered to half staff in honor of the fallen officer.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

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

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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