Shawn Kelly

Cpl. Shawn Kelly

After almost 30 years in law enforcement, Cpl. Shawn Kelly paid the highest price for his community: The Denham Springs officer was shot and killed in the line of duty.

His death is a reminder of how even the most seemingly innocuous calls, in this instance about an argument in a parking lot on South Range Avenue, can become a tragedy.

Kelly was on traffic detail that day, May 11, but responded to the call to assist his fellow officers. They are deeply in mourning as he is laid to rest today.

The department reported that 30-year-old Justin Roberts, of Denham Springs, fired on the responding officers, striking Kelly multiple times.

Roberts fled the scene but was shot a short time later by Livingston Parish sheriff's deputies, who said Roberts had approached them while brandishing a gun. Roberts died at a hospital that evening.

The grieving officers in Denham Springs should know that they are not alone. While Kelly battled for his life in the hospital, hundreds of fellow citizens turned out for a fundraiser to support his family.

Their loss is the greatest, of course, but an entire community suffers when one of its guardians is lost.