HPD senior officer dies from COVID-19 after long battle, chief confirms

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A second member of the Houston Police Department has died from COVID-19, according to the agency.

Senior police officer John Wilbanks, 53, died Wednesday, Oct. 13 after a long battle with the virus.

Wilbanks joined the department back in 1994.

During his 27-year career, Wilbanks worked in the southeast, southwest, Clear Lake, Traffic Enforcement, Vehicular Crimes, Tactical Operations and Air & Marine divisions within the Houston area.

HPD Chief Troy Finner asked the community to lift Wilbanks' family in prayer.

Senior Police Officer Ernest Leal Jr. was the first HPD officer to die in the line of duty from COVID-19 in Nov. 2020. He was a 36-year veteran of the department.

SEE ALSO: 2 City of Houston employees die of COVID-19 the same week

Thank you Officer Ernest Leal Jr. for 36 years of service, and to Joel Cirilo for six years of service to the City of Houston.