By Jeff Fox

Independence Mayor Don Reimal has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff through sundown Friday in honor of Officer James Lockard, who died in an accident over the weekend while off duty.

Lockard was hunting Saturday afternoon north of Albany, Mo., in Gentry County when a falling tree knocked him off an ATV. The Gentry County Sheriff’s Department points out that it was extremely windy Saturday, and that’s believed to have caused the tree to fall.

Lockard was flown to Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Mo., where he died a little after 5 p.m. Sunday.

He had been with the Independence Police Department since 2008, working in the Patrol Division and on the Special Response Team. He is survived by a wife, a son and a step-son.

A fund has been set up to aid the family with expenses. Donations can be sent to:

James Lockard Memorial c/o Code One Credit Union PO Box 270020 Kansas City, Mo. 64127