COLUMBUS, Ohio — It is with deep regret that the announcement is made of the death of Natural Resource Officer Jason Lagore who died while responding to a call at Rocky Fork State Park on Feb. 23.
“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Officer Jason Lagore, who died in the line of duty last night,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz. “Our law enforcement officers and their families carry a unique and challenging burden of responsibilities, and we are deeply grateful for their service.”
Officer Lagore was responding to a call at Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County just before 6:30 p.m. on reports that two people had fallen through the ice near the North Shore boat docks. During the search, Officer Lagore suffered a medical emergency and was taken to Highland District Hospital in Hillsboro, Ohio, where he was pronounced dead.
A 13-year-old male who fell through the ice was able to get out of the water. He was taken to the hospital in stable condition. The second victim, a 16-year-old female, was recovered by divers unresponsive. She was transported to the hospital but was later pronounced dead. ODNR is leading the ongoing investigation into the incident.
Officer Lagore was a dedicated officer, having served 15 years with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He was responsible for the first ODNR K-9 academy, led the Division of Parks and Watercraft K-9 training program, and was well respected across the state for his expertise working with K-9s.
When he wasn’t proudly serving ODNR, Officer Lagore enjoyed deer and turkey hunting, loved history, and enjoyed vacations with his family.
Officer Lagore is survived by his wife Michelle, his two young sons, and his K-9 partner, Sarge.
ODNR asks that the privacy of Officer Lagore’s family be respected during this time.
Governor Mike DeWine ordered on Feb. 24 that the flags of the United States and the State of Ohio be flown at half-staff upon all public buildings and grounds in Highland County, and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower in Columbus. Flags will remain lowered until sunset on the day of Officer Lagore’s funeral.
All other public buildings and grounds throughout the state may fly U.S. and Ohio flags at half-staff at their discretion for the same time period.
This order will run concurrently with Monday’s order to lower flags in honor of the more than 500,000 Americans who died due to COVID-19. Flags on public buildings and grounds in Highland County and at the Ohio Statehouse, Vern Riffe Center, and Rhodes State Office Tower should remain lowered after February 26 if Officer Lagore’s funeral has not yet taken place.