Retired LAFD Firefighter, Now Ore. Police Officer Dies Trying to Rescue Teen From Ocean

A Bandon police officer died this morning trying to rescue a Maple Valley, Washington teen who had been pulled into the ocean.

Emergency medics and onlookers tried to save the officer, 51 year old Russell Simpson, after he was swept under the surf. But they failed.

Simpson was part of a rescue rope chain trying to reach the boy, 13-year-old Zed Leas. Relatives say the boy had been walking his dog on the beach.

Leas was rescued after he climbed into a basket lowered by a U-S Coast Guard helicopter, officials say. He was taken to Bandon Hospital and treated for mild hypothermia.

Simpson was one of five full-time officers in Bandon. He moved there in 1997, after retiring from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Simpson started working for the city as a code enforcement officer in 1999.

The mayor, Joe Whitsett, says the whole community is in shock. " I encourage people to be careful on the beach, we're gonna miss officer Simpson. He's a fine, fine man, who died doing what he loved to do, helping the community, he died a hero."

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