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Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

COVINGTON, La. -- The Northshore community is celebrating the life of a decorated Covington police lieutenant who died early Tuesday morning protecting his 8-year-old daughter.

They were camping at a state park north of Jackson, Mississippi when a series of powerful storms pushed through the area.

Covington Police Chief Richard Palmisano says according to reports, Sharp heard a loud crack and quickly covered up his daughter before a 125-foot sweet gum tree fell onto their tent.

'It's my understanding based on what we were told that Lt. Sharp threw himself over his child's body to protect her and was struck by the tree and perished,' said Palmisano.

The daughter survived without a scratch.

Palmisano described Sharp's death as a huge loss for the city and a department he served with heart and soul.

'He was a great guy. He did a wonderful job for this city and put his life on the line everyday to help the citizens of Covington and we thank him for that and his family.'

Sharp came up through the ranks, rising from patrolman to commander of Covington's Criminal Investigative Unit.

Wednesday, flags in were flying at half staff in Covington.

Citizens placed several wreaths in front of the city police station as word of Lt. Sharp's death filtered through town.

'Wade probably embodied all the things that you would want in a law enforcement officer,' said Mayor Candace Watkins. 'We will remember him as a strong leader, a dedicated, committed law enforcement officer and a dearly loved friend.'

Palmisano said that Sharp's death is consistent with the way he conducted himself during nearly 20-years with the department. Sharp is the only officer to win the Medal of Valor twice and he saved three lives.

'The way he led his life, he ended his life,' said Palmisano. 'He was a hero here.'

'He was a hero to the very last minute,' said Watkins.

Funeral arrangements for Wade Sharp have yet to be announced.

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