TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Following the news of the passing of Smith County Sheriff’s deputy Lorenzo Bustos Friday morning, community members across East Texas have been reaching out to express their condolences for the department and the fallen deputy’s family.

Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran requested from the state for all flags state-wide to be half-staff beginning Friday.

Gov. Greg Abbott responded and said Texas and U.S. flags in the county and surrounding areas may be lowered to half-staff immediately.

“Flags may remain at half-staff through the memorial service or upon final interment, at your discretion. Flags should return to full-staff the following day,” a letter from Abbott’s office stated.

Individuals, businesses, municipalities, counties and other political subdivisions and entities in the surrounding area may fly flags half-staff as a sign of honor and respect.

“The First Lady and I extend our prayers of comfort to the Bustos family during their time of grief, and we
urge all Texans to remember and honor Deputy Bustos’ service as a brave and dedicated law enforcement
officer,” Abbott wrote.

Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith

In a Facebook post, Smith said the following:

“Please keep our law enforcement brothers and sisters in your prayers as we mourn the loss of one of our own. Most of all, please be in prayer for his parents, wife, three young children as well as his brothers and sister.”

Texas Rep. Bryan Hughes

Texas Rep. Bryan Hughes posted on his social media in memory of the deputy.

“Flags are at half staff today after one Smith County Deputy was killed and another injured early this morning on a Frankston highway,” Hughes said. “This is a heartbreaking loss for East Texas, and I ask that you keep the injured Deputy, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, and the families of those impacted in your prayers.”

East Texas Peace Officers

The East Texas Peace Officers Association took to Facebook early Friday morning to state, “Y’all please take a minute and Pray for Smith County Sheriffs Department and the family of a young deputy who has left us way too soon.”

Jefferson Police Department

Other law enforcement agencies like the Jefferson Police Department expressed their condolences via social media, with a Facebook post that reads “the Jefferson Police Department stands with the Smith County Sheriffs Office and the family of the Deputy that has lost his life.”

Kilgore Police Department

The Kilgore Police Department gave a statement on Facebook saying “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Smith County Deputy Lorenzo Bustos as well as his friends and coworkers at the Smith County Sheriff’s Office. While on a traffic stop early this morning a drunk driver ran into their cars. He succumbed to his injuries. A second Deputy was also injured. Lorenzo had previously worked at Rusk County Sheriff’s Office and most recently Henderson Police Department.”

Henderson Police Department

“We are deeply sadden by the loss of one of our brothers, a Smith County Deputy, Deputy Bustos,” the department expressed in a Facebook post. “Deputy Bustos served the citizens of Henderson before moving on to Smith County. The officers at Henderson Police Department are in mourning and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends at their darkest and hardest time. Deputy Bustos will forever hold a special place at Henderson Police Department.”

Whitehouse Police Department

“Our hearts are broken for the loss of a brother in blue,” said the department in a Facebook post. “Please take a minute and Pray for Smith County Sheriffs Department and the family of the Deputy who gave the ultimate sacrifice last night. His family and friends will be in our prayers.”

Rusk County Sheriff’s Office

Johnwayne Valdez wrote in a Facebook post on the Rusk County Sheriff’s Office page, “we ask that our community continue to pray for Deputy Bustos’ family as well as the Smith County Sheriff’s Office while they grieve over the loss of this fine young man!”

City of Troup

Similar to the Smith County seat in Tyler, the city of Troup has lowered their flags to half-staff in honor of the fallen deputy, saying in a Facebook post “following Smith County’s lead, the City of Troup has lowered its flags to half staff in honor of the Smith County Deputy Sheriff killed in a drunk driver incident while on duty early this morning, Friday, July 29, 2022.”

Terrell Volunteer Fire Department

Even agencies from outside of East Texas have reached out with their thoughts and prayers, namely the Terrell Volunteer Fire Department, who said in a Facebook post, “TVFD and other county fire departments were notified this morning by our friends at Kaufman SO Dispatch that the Deputy would be coming through Kaufman County en route to Dallas as part of the investigation. In true Kaufman County fashion, TVFD firefighters along with others from Terrell FD, Elmo FD, and College Mound FD quickly turned out, joining with our law enforcement colleagues to pay our respects to the fallen Deputy by lining the bridges along his path with apparatus. Our thanks to KSO Dispatch who notified all of us regarding this escort and kept us updated throughout. TVFD extends our prayers and sympathies to the Deputy and his family – blood and blue.”

Chapel Hill High School

Bustos graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 2011, according to the district.

“Our hearts are deeply saddened by the loss of Lorenzo Bustos, a Chapel Hill High School 2011 graduate, who lost his life serving our community as a Smith County Sheriff’s deputy early this morning,” per a Facebook post.

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