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Officer Killed During Rappelling Exercise

Officer Killed During Rappelling Exercise

The Sanford Herald via YellowBrix

July 07, 2011

SANFORD, NC — Sanford police confirmed Wednesday that an officer died following a rappelling accident during a Tuesday afternoon training session at the Emergency Services Training Center off Tramway Road.

The officer, 55-year-old Elieser “Eli” Colonroche, died at roughly 6:30 p.m. at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill after he slammed into the wall of a four-story tower on the training grounds, authorities said.

“It was just an accident,” said Maj. Kevin Gray, head of the Sanford Police Department’s field operations. “There were no safety issues, all the safety precautions were followed.”

Gray said Colonroche, a local police officer since August 2002, was practicing for a planned rappelling demonstration. Colonroche was scaling down the tower when he slammed hard into a third-floor window. Police said Colonroche appeared to have suffered only a minor elbow injury, but was nevertheless taken to Central Carolina Hospital.

Colonroche was later transported to Chapel Hill, where he was declared dead early Tuesday evening.

Gray said officials are still waiting for an autopsy confirmation on the cause of death for the veteran officer, who served as a Spanish-speaking member of the department’s patrol division.

“It’s still kind of vague, and we’re investigating it,” Gray said.

Gray added that Colonroche was experienced at the rappelling, and that officers were preparing for a demonstration with Central Carolina Community College at month’s end. He said Tuesday’s death was the first time the department has lost an officer during the training sessions.

According to information provided by Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home in Sanford, Colonroche’s favorite pastime was skydiving. The native of Puerto Rico had 22 years of service in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne division, and he was married with three sons.

Word spread about the police officer’s death by Wednesday afternoon, with several people in local law enforcement and other city and county posts, including Lee County emergency management chief Shane Seagroves, posting photos of police badges with a black band across the center as a tribute on the social networking Website Facebook.

Seagroves said he was out of town when the accident happened, but he was notified of the death Tuesday night.

“He was a super nice guy,” Seagroves said. “It’s such a shame.”


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  • Ralphie_max50

    rafaelmorales

    almost 3 years ago

    3000 Comments

    RIP BROTHER..........

  • Mmal6_max50

    tbailes182

    almost 3 years ago

    540 Comments

    Rest in Peace Brother. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family, friends, and loved ones.

  • Me2_max50

    bstites

    almost 3 years ago

    1028 Comments

    RIP Officer.

  • 041105-o-9999g-012_max50

    Rscheiterle

    almost 3 years ago

    1822 Comments

    RIP brother

  • Photo_1_max50

    thors45

    almost 3 years ago

    400 Comments

    And politicians think we get paid too much?

    My sincerest condolences to Officer Colonroche's family, colleagues and the people of Sanford. You have lost a true warrior.

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    almost 3 years ago

    6950 Comments

    Rest In Peace my Brother...Rest Sir...We have the Watch...

  • Erin_1_max50

    ESederquist

    almost 3 years ago

    170 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Colonroche

  • Eagle_and_flag_max50

    36TR

    almost 3 years ago

    7548 Comments

    RIP, Brother!!!

  • 2011_range_day_2-19-10_max50

    USLawman1983

    almost 3 years ago

    1572 Comments

    Training like the warrior he was. RIP brother.

  • Hpim0324_max50

    boritico

    almost 3 years ago

    928 Comments

    R.I.P.B.

  • Img_1050_max50

    Irishcop1961

    almost 3 years ago

    45860 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Colonroche. Thank you for your service.

  • To_serve_and_protect_max50

    pek1753_47

    almost 3 years ago

    102 Comments

    RIP Brother Colonroche, may God give your family and loved ones the courage to go on.

  • Garita2_max50

    Inxorte

    almost 3 years ago

    734 Comments

    RIPB

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MP247

    almost 3 years ago

    332 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Colonroche

  • Car_004_max50

    copper380

    almost 3 years ago

    2026 Comments

    RIP Brother, God Bless the Soul of Our Fallen Brother, Bless his family and friends.

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