Two sheriff officers have died; one tested positive for COVID-19, family says

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Officials say a 25-year veteran, Law Enforcement Sergeant Ernie Quintero and a 15-year-veteran, Detention Officer Kevin Fletcher passed away Monday.

Officials say a 25-year veteran, Law Enforcement Sergeant Ernie Quintero and a 15-year-veteran, Detention Officer Kevin Fletcher passed away Monday.

PHOENIX, Ariz. (KPHO/KTVK ) — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is mourning the loss of two officers.

According to MCSO, Sgt. Ernie Quintero, a 25-year veteran who worked at the Court Security Division and Detention Officer Kevin Fletcher, a 15-year-veteran who was was currently on assignment at 4th Avenue Jail, both died on Monday.

Quintero’s fiancee, Jenny Pacheco, tells Arizona’s Family he started getting sick just before Father’s Day, and Pacheco got sick a couple of days later. Both of their tests came back positive for COVID-19. As their symptoms progressed, Quintero and Pacheco decided to get married after 13 years, but they ran out of time. Their marriage certificate just arrived in the mail this week.

Pacheco says she had to call 911 last Sunday when Quintero had trouble breathing. He ended up in the hospital, and unfortunately for Pacheco, she never got to visit him during his last week of life because she was still sick with coronavirus.

“He was a beautiful soul. A beautiful, amazing father,” she said. “He was my best friend. My love. My soulmate. My everything.”

Pacheco said Quintero always took his job seriously, and believed in what he did. She mentioned his thoroughness in writing up his reports and how well he treated his colleagues.

“He was a great teacher. A great mentor. Everyone looked up to him,” she said.

MCSO released the following statement on the deaths: “Sheriff Penzone and everyone at the Sheriff’s Office extend our deepest sympathy to the Quintero and Fletcher families for their loss. MCSO will forever be in gratitude of Sergeant Quintero’s and Officer Fletcher’s service and contributions to the agency and our community. Our hearts are heavy today.”

Fletcher’s cause of death hasn’t been released. MCSO cited medical confidentiality laws.

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