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This story was updated on March 21 to reflect the House’s final approval of the bill.
AUSTIN — The Texas House on Thursday voted to name part of the North Central Expressway that runs through Richardson after officer David Sherrard, who last year became the police department’s first casualty in the line of duty in its 64-year history.
"It’s my hope that this memorial, this honor, will bring a sense of joy and pride to Officer Sherrard’s family and to his fellow officers all across the state of Texas who continue to serve the state fully and courageously every day," said Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, who carried the bill in the House.
The bill would designate the section of U.S. Highway 75 that runs through Richardson from the George Bush Turnpike in the north to Interstate 635 in the south as the Officer David Sherrard Memorial Highway. The bill would not require state money for the markers placed at each end, which would be funded by private donations.
"The renaming of U.S. 75 to the ‘Officer David Sherrard Memorial Highway’ is an honor that is justly deserved for our hero," his wife, Nicole Sherrard, said in a news release on the Feb. 7 anniversary of his death. "While his absence from our lives will never be forgotten by our family and friends, this designation guarantees that for generations, people will remember Dave and the sacrifice he made for our community."
David Sherrard was 37 when he was killed while responding to a disturbance call. Colleagues remembered him as a goofy guy with a quick smile who never hesitated to lend a hand. Richardson Police Chief Jimmy Spivey called him a "brave, tenured police officer" who died in service to his community.
Sherrard, who grew up in Dallas and Mesquite, was a 13-year police veteran, a husband and a father of two who made people laugh and was an active member of Watermark Community Church in Plano. Many of his fellow officers described him as their best friend when they visited him in the hospital after the shooting, and those who knew him said he was a devoted husband and family man.
Last February, Sherrard was one of eight police officers who responded to a call about a disturbance at an apartment complex. They found a man named Rene Gamez wounded outside his apartment. They began administering first aid, and as they tried to enter his apartment, Sherrard was shot.
He was taken to Medical City Plano, where he later died. Gamez also died. Brandon McCall, the suspect in Sherrard’s shooting, had multiple run-ins with authorities in the previous decade, mostly for use or possession of controlled substances. Collin County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in their case against McCall, who was charged with two counts of capital murder and seven counts of aggravated assault on a public servant.
The bill will now move to the Senate, where Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, is carrying the legislation.
"It is an honor to file Senate Bill 690 in remembrance of a husband, father, officer, and selfless public servant who laid down his life in the line of duty," Paxton said in a news release announcing the bill in February. "I pray this memorial highway will comfort Officer Sherrard’s family and honor the legacy he instilled in our community and his fellow officers of the Richardson Police Department."