LAWRENCE COUNTY, Miss. (WHLT) – The Easter Sunday storms caused heartbreak in Lawrence County. A sheriff’s deputy and his wife were both killed after a tornado hit their home.
Flags are flying at half-staff outside the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department in honor of Deputy Robert Ainsworth and his wife, Paula.
“They’re just both both really fine people and come from really good families, and they’re going to be missed by all.”
As the tornado barreled through the county, Ainsworth covered his wife to protect her.
“He died a hero. He was shielding her from the debris and the storm with himself,” said Sheriff Ryan Everett.
Community members are stopping by Ainsworth’s patrol car to offer their respect and tokens of appreciation.
“He was just a loving and kind man. He loved everybody, and he devoted himself to his loving family, his friends,” said one well wisher.
Ainsworth was a longtime deputy and former Marine. His wife worked in the Walthall County Justice Court office.
“You know, somebody once upon a time said that when an officer dies it’s not just an agency that loses an officer, but it’s an entire nation. Well, we’ve all lost a brother. I may be the sheriff, but at heart I’ll always be a dirt road deputy and he was my brother,” said Everett.
Ainsworth’s patrol car shows the damage from the storms. It’s now a memorial outside the sheriff’s office.