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Navajo police officer who died of COVID-19 laid to rest Thursday

The department says Officer Michael Lee's death in the line of duty was a result of the virus.

A Navajo police officer died as a result of COVID-19, the department announced on Facebook Friday morning.

Officer Michael Lee died in Phoenix after contracting the virus that has hit the Navajo Nation especially hard.

Lee was a father, husband, and 29-year veteran of the Navajo Police Department. He worked at the Chinle Police District.

His funeral service took place at 9 a.m. Arizona time Thursday morning.


Honoring the Life of Officer Lee

Posted by Navajo Police Department on Thursday, June 25, 2020

"We are devastated and heartbroken," Chief Phillip Francisco said in the announcement on Facebook. 

"Officer Lee was a husband, a father, a son and a protector of his community.  We ask the public to join us in remembering his commitment and contribution to his community and to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers today."

This is the first line of duty death related to COVID-19 for the Navajo Police Department.

Officer Down Memorial Page lists 47 police officers, sheriff's deputies, corrections officers that had died in the U.S. of COVID-19.

Officer Lee worked closely with the community and supported information technology in the department. He also served as a patrol officer. He also served for a time with a unit to register sex offenders and notify the community about sex offenders.

Officer Lee worked in Window Rock and Chinle.

There will be a procession from the hospital in Phoenix to a mortuary in Gallup, New Mexico.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Arizona: Record-high 3,246 new cases reported on June 19

The Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit areas during the pandemic. 

The Nation is re-instituting weekend-long lockdowns to restrict travel. All stores are ordered to be closed, including restaurants, gas stations and more.

RELATED: Remembering some of the Arizonans we lost to COVID-19

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