AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- A longtime Aurora police officer died Tuesday morning due to complications from COVID-19, a spokesman for the police department said Wednesday night.
Officer Brian Shields, 51, was a 16-year veteran of the department.
He died from complications as a result of contracting COVID-19 while serving the Aurora community, the spokesman said.
"Our community mourns the untimely loss of Officer Shields," Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said in a statement. "Brian was a devoted father, husband, son, and public servant. On behalf of the Aurora City Council and the people of Aurora, we will honor his life and stand in support of his family at home and at the department. Please keep them all in your prayers at this time."
As a young man, Shields began his career in journalism, working for the Aurora Beacon News. After a short time he found his true calling in law enforcement, working with a smaller police force for a few years before joining the Aurora department at the age of 35.
Aurora Police Chief Keith Cross said the entire department is mourning with the Shields family.
"Our condolences and prayers go out to Brian's family and to all those he served with during his more than 16 years as an officer with the Aurora Police Department," Cross said. "Our police department family will do everything possible to provide support and comfort to Brian's family. Brian's memory will live on forever at APD."
The police department spokesman declined to say if Shields was vaccinated against COVID-19, citing employee privacy, but did say officers are required to either provide proof of vaccination or undergo weekly testing under city policy.
In addition to benefits from the state, if Officer Shields' death is determined to be in the line of duty the 100 Club of Chicago also plans to award benefits to his family.
More information about arrangements will be forthcoming.