Police departments, first responders and sympathetic residents across Maine memorialized the death of a Hancock County sheriff’s deputy on Thursday after he died on duty earlier in the day.
Police departments from Kittery to Presque Isle memorialized Luke Gross, who was fatally struck by a car while responding to a call during the early hours of the morning on Route 3 in Trenton.
Several Mainers changed their profile pictures on Facebook to a Hancock County sheriff’s patch featuring a thin blue line, often used to memorialize an officer killed on duty. Several law enforcement agencies followed suit: the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, and police departments in Baileyville, Cape Elizabeth, East Millinocket, Fort Fairfield, Gouldsboro, Houlton and Limestone, among others, replaced their profile picture with memorials to Gross.
Condolences and prayers went out to Gross’ family, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and the wider community that Gross served. Most of the messages were sent over Facebook.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s office said its “heart broke” for Gross’s family, coworkers and all of Hancock County in a post on Facebook.
“May God provide comfort to them all during this time of mourning,” the spokesperson said.
“Our hearts are with our brothers and sisters at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, as they suffer the loss of one of their own,” the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post.
Casco Fire/Rescue implored drivers to slow down and move over when they see emergency responders on the side of the road.
Many forces under Gross’ former jurisdiction offered condolences, including the Southwest Harbor Police Department which said the “thoughts and prayers” of the entire department were with Gross’ friends and family.
“We share their sorrow at the loss of such a wonderful person,” the Southwest Harbor Police Department wrote on Facebook.
State Sen. Louie Luchini, D-Ellsworth, issued a statement with his condolences for Gross’ family and friends and said the deputy’s “commitment to the people of Hancock County will never be forgotten.”
He noted that officers killed in the line of duty are honored annually in Augusta. “Our hearts will all be heavier this year remembering Deputy Gross,” Luchini said.
Ellsworth theater The Grand announced that it had decided to cancel a trivia night planned for the venue on Saturday out of respect for Gross and his family.
The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department said the family appreciated the kind wishes as they dealt with the tragedy, but asked that people provide the Gross family some privacy during this difficult time.
“We ask that you please honor their request and give them the space needed to grieve,” the department wrote.