UPDATE: JSO released the name of the officer killed Tuesday morning in a single-car crash. That officer is Lance C. Whitaker.
JSO said that Officer Whitaker was a 17 year veteran with JSO and was 48-years-old.
A Jacksonville police officer was killed in a single-car crash early Tuesday morning, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Mike Williams said the officer was responding to a traffic crash on I-295 at 4:30 a.m., when the officer hit a tree.
The officer was transported to a local hospital, where he later died.
"It's a tough day for JSO and the city," Williams said.
JSO said the officer worked the midnight shift. Police said next of kin has not been notified yet.
Williams believes weather may have played a factor in the crash.
The director of JSO patrol and law enforcement, Mike Bruno, said the community's heart is saddened and describes the officer as a hero.
"Heroes are the individuals that, every day, pin on the badge or put on the uniform, knowing they might not come back, but go out anyways," Bruno said.
JSO said the officer was killed on Police Memorial Day.
"It's another reminder of the risks that men and women of JSO take on every day when they come on this job,'' Williams said.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Williams said a FHP unit witnessed the crash.
In a tweet, FHP said, "As I stood there in the room when they made the final call of life to my JSO brother, this became one of the hardest days of my life. God bless you brother. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Mayor Lenny Curry, Florida Gov. Rick Scott and multiple agencies have shared their condolences to the Sheriff's Office and the officer's family on social media.
"Our hearts are heavy for this officer, his family, and our brothers & sisters in blue....we responded and did all we could, but it wasn’t enough to save him," Curry said in a tweet.
"The community's heart today is saddened," Bruno said.
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