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Loudoun County School Resource Officer Dies Suddenly

Loudoun County Deputy First Class Justin Payne has died unexpectedly, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday. Payne was the School Resource Officer at John Champe High School. He was scheduled to serve as SRO at Independence High School when it opens this fall.

Payne began his career at the Loudon County Sheriff’s office as a deputy in April 2005. He a mentor to many, the sheriff’s office said.

He started out as a patrol deputy, served as SRO at Sterling Middle School, and was a member of the department’s SWAT Team and Rapid Response Unit.

“Justin understood the importance of an SRO, showing an interest in each student’s academics and extracurricular activities,” wrote Sheriff’s Office spokesman Kraig Troxell. “He served as a mentor to many of them and we know he touched the lives of countless others, including his brothers and sisters here at the LCSO. He also loved woodworking and often created United States flags carved out of wood for his fellow employees.”