Salisbury, MD – Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Ray died unexpectedly of a “medical episode” on Thursday, according to the sheriff.
"We're still in shock and are at a loss for words,” Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis told WMDT. “"He was a family member of our office, he was a brother and he was a colleague.”
An autopsy was scheduled to take place in Baltimore.
Deputy Ray passed away less than 24 hours after his last scheduled shift, the sheriff said.
The 18-year veteran of the force was a member of the department’s emergency response team, as well as the motor unit, he added.
Deputy Ray, 42, was a “proud United States Marine,” and a “loyal and dedicated” member of the department, the agency said in a Facebook post.
He also worked as a middle school and high school soccer coach, WMDT reported.
“Going from volunteer coach, to assistant coach to head coach last year, he's instilled a lot of discipline and toughness in our boys," Athletic Director Kory Shiles said. "He was a tough coach, but that's kind of why we liked him, and what he brought out our boys was their very best.”
"He was just a great role model and father figure for those kids, and he pushed them to do their very best on the field and for those who have graduated to be great," Shiles added.
Deputy Ray leaves behind a longtime girlfriend, three sons, and four siblings.
“I ask that you keep the men and women of the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and the Family of Deputy Steven Ray in your thoughts and prayers as they will be experiencing many difficult days ahead,” Sheriff Lewis said in the department’s post.
“Thank you Stevie Ray for serving the citizens of Wicomico County with distinction and pride,” he added. “Semper Fi.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Wicomico County Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Ray, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.