"Shocking," "unbelievable" and "heartbreaking," these are some of the words local police chiefs used to describe last week’s death of Gainesville Police Chief Steven Fleming.

"Shocking," "unbelievable" and "heartbreaking," these are some of the words local police chiefs used to describe last week’s death of Gainesville Police Chief Steven Fleming.


Chief Fleming, 44, was working in the Gainesville Police Department’s evidence room on Oct. 26 when he fell from a ladder. He died in the hospital on Nov. 1 from injuries he sustained in the fall. Chief Fleming served with the Gainesville Police Department for 22 years and was chief for six years.


"The death of Chief Fleming was a shock to all of us," said Denison Police Chief Jay Burch. "Although I didn’t know Chief Fleming that well, I’m sure his loss to the department and community is monumental."


Sherman Police Chief Otis Henry, along with a number of other local law enforcement officials, attended Chief Flemming’s funeral service Thursday afternoon.


"When you think of line of duty deaths, you think of violence," Henry said.


Besides violent deaths, Henry said the only other types of line of duty deaths he can recall during his career in law enforcement have been due to heart attacks or other health issues.


"At his funeral, the pastor used the word ‘surreal,’" Henry said, "I can definitely understand that."


Both Burch and Henry said their respective police departments extend condolences to Chief Fleming’s family and the Gainesville Police Department.