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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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  • Policememorial---a_max50

    Collegecop_WA

    about 3 years ago

    2380 Comments

    Rest in peace Officer Colonroche, may God welcome you home with open arms and may He comfort the loved ones you have left behind.

  • 1393794_10151798561878138_392793313_n_max50

    Blueblood1974

    about 3 years ago

    5204 Comments

    RIP brother!

  • Eagle-3_max50

    Cap701

    about 3 years ago

    116 Comments

    As you departed the bonds of this earth and touched the face of God, know that the service and dedication you had for your department, its fellow officers and the citizens of your community will never be forgotten. May God comfort in this time of sorrow your family, your fellow officers and all those whose lives you have touched. RIP brother, we’ll take it from here.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    Sad tragic accident. Thank you for your LE/military service to this country. May God bless you and your family during this difficult time.

  • Cpusey-001_max50

    Chief171

    about 3 years ago

    3192 Comments

    RIP Brother...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    captainbud

    about 3 years ago

    420 Comments

    May you rest in peace, my brother. May God comfort and bless your family and friends.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    captainbud

    about 3 years ago

    420 Comments

    May you rest in peace, my brother. May God comfort and bless your family and friends.

  • Thin_blue_line_max50

    RLW

    about 3 years ago

    292 Comments

    RIP Brother, Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    rsironron

    about 3 years ago

    5220 Comments

    Rest in Peace brother, my thoughts and prayers to your family, friends and co-workers.

  • Mourning_badge_max50

    Straightshooter

    about 3 years ago

    1708 Comments

    Rest in Peace Officer Colonroche. My Prayers for your Family, friends and coworkers.

  • Respect_max50

    oldtimer322

    about 3 years ago

    360 Comments

    RIP my brother

  • 827-2294l_max50

    Fredder

    about 3 years ago

    190 Comments

    Rest in Peace.

  • Andrea_and_i_max50

    corylovesandrea

    about 3 years ago

    6224 Comments

    Rest in peace brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    kimber4155

    about 3 years ago

    618 Comments

    RIP...

  • Nag_max50

    bsears

    about 3 years ago

    9620 Comments

    RIP

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