Family, friends mourn loss of slain Texas officer

"It's the hardest day we've ever had," Police Chief Jimmy Spivey said

By Valerie Wigglesworth
The Dallas Morning News

RICHARDSON, Texas — David Sherrard was the goofy guy with a quick smile and an encouraging word for others. He was the one who didn't hesitate to lend a helping hand. And the one who always had the backs of his brothers in blue. 

But the 37-year-old Richardson police officer's watch came to a sudden and tragic end Wednesday night when he was fatally shot after responding to a disturbance at an apartment complex. 

"It's the hardest day we've ever had," Police Chief Jimmy Spivey said Thursday morning as officers standing on either side of him fought back tears. "Officer Sherrard is a brave, tenured police officer who died in the service to his community."

Sherrard was the first officer in the department's 63-year history to die in the line of duty. The community stopped by police headquarters Thursday to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial there. Flowers were piled atop a police cruiser, its windows displaying Badge No. 1078 and Sherrard's SWAT affiliation.

"I just don't know how to put into words everything he was," said his older sister, Cristal Goings of Mesquite. 

'He could sing'

The 13-year police veteran was a husband, a father of two, a son and a brother. A jokester who made people laugh. A devout Christian and active member of Watermark Plano church, Goings said.  He sang tenor. 

"He had such a beautiful singing voice," his sister said. "He could sing. Oh, he could sing." 

He liked to fish and to sketch. He was also a leader and a friend. 

"You'd talk to him once, and it felt like you'd known him for years," friend Kyle Jobson said. 

"It was his calling'

Sherrard grew up in Dallas and Mesquite. He graduated from Mesquite High School, where he played football. He attended some college before enrolling in the police academy for Richardson in 2004. 

He hadn't always wanted to be a police officer. When he was younger, his sister said, Sherrard wanted to be a firefighter. 

"God changed his mind," she said. 

To him, policing wasn't a job. "He felt it was his calling," Goings said. 

Sherrard was also a member of the department's elite SWAT team, which required extensive training.

Police records show Sherrard had been injured at least once before while on duty.

In 2011, he and another officer were helping a stranded driver when a drunken-driving suspect slammed into Sherrard's squad car while he was inside.

His car was pushed across North Central Expressway before it came to a halt in an HOV lane. He was treated at Medical Center of Plano, which is now Medical City Plano Hospital -- the same hospital where Sherrard was taken Wednesday.

Many of the law enforcement officers who stopped by the hospital after the shooting referred to him as their best friend, Goings said. 

"February 7 is a day that will forever be marked as the day the Richardson Police Department lost one of the best officers I have ever known," family friend and fellow Richardson Officer Steve Hooten posted on Facebook. 

"David Sherrard was the police officer you would want to show up at your house under any circumstance," he continued. "As a fellow officer, he was the type of police officer we want with us on a high risk call. An officer you would never question if he had your back. We never questioned his bravery." 

Date nights with his wife and extracurricular activities with his daughters were a regular part of life for the Sherrard clan, who lived in Wylie.

"I'm just telling you - family man, family man, family man," Goings said.

'The ultimate sacrifice'

His wife, Nicole Sherrard, couldn't be reached by phone. She posted about her grief on Facebook.

"He loved me more than I ever deserved and I'm broken!!" she stated. "I close my eyes and all I see is his smiling face and it's like a movie with just flashes of memories over 20 years!! I was blessed to be his first girlfriend and his only true love and he loved me and our daughters so much!"

Goings said her brother's loved ones hope to see him in heaven one day.

"We're a family of believers," said Goings. She called her brother a hero.

"He gave the ultimate sacrifice and service to his community."

Funeral services are pending.

Staff Writers Naheed Rajwani and Tasha Tsiaperas contributed to this report.

©2018 The Dallas Morning News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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