WILMINGTON — Services for Ohio Department of Natural Resources Officer Jason Lagore, who died after entering Rocky Fork Lake to search for a drowning victim, were held Wednesday morning at Bible Baptist Church prior to a procession to Miami Cemetery in Corwin, Warren County, where he was to be laid to rest with full law enforcement honors.
Many rows of law enforcement vehicles, including dozens from the ODNR, lined the large church parking lot as officers and other officials from across Ohio attended.
Lagore died Tuesday night, Feb. 23 when suffered a medical event after he entered the water at Rocky Fork Lake in an attempt to rescue a girl that had fallen through the ice. The body of Kearia Scott, 16, of Hillsboro, was located later that night.
Lagore, 36, of Clarksville, was a 15-year veteran of the ODNR, based at Caesar Creek State Park in Warren County. He was responsible for the first ODNR K-9 Academy and also led the Division of Parks & Watercraft K-9 Training Program.
He is survived by his wife, Michelle, two young sons, and his K-9 partner, Sarge.
Highland County Cororner M.D. Jeff Beery said it appeared Lagore experienced a heart issue upon entering the water at Rocky Fork.
“It is with heavy hearts that we report that he was unable to be resuscitated,” Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Lt. Branden Jackman said in a press release shortly after the incident “… Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of the drowning victim and to our brothers and sisters in blue for the loss of their officer in the line of duty.”
In honor of Lagore’s life, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ordered flags lowered on public buildings and grounds in Highland County, at the Statehouse, Riffe Center and Rhodes Tower in Columbus.
“Our hearts are with the family and loved ones of Officer Jason Lagore, who died in the line of duty last night,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said in a separate news release after the acccident. “Our law enforcement officers and their families carry a unique and challenging burden of responsibilities, and we are deeply grateful for their service.”
When he wasn’t serving ODNR, Lagore enjoyed deer and turkey hunting, loved history, and enjoyed vacations with his family.”
Arrangements were by the Reynolds-Smith Funeral Home, Wilmington. Contributions in Lagore’s memory may be made to the Ohio Law Enforcement K-9 Association, P.O. Box 104, New Lebanon, Ohio 45345.
Tom Barr is the editor of the News Journal in Wilmington.