Event Friday honors officer slain 20 years ago

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Patrolman Ricky Lee Ward

Bistone residents are invited to attend a memorial service honoring and remembering a Mexia Police officer shot and killed in the line of duty.
At 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, a service will be held in front of the police department at 211 N. Sherman to honor the sacrifice of Ricky Lee Ward, who died Aug. 2, 1993, at the age of 33.
Music, talks and other tributes are planned for the event honoring a man de­scribed as a great friend and partner, and a “gentle giant.”
Ward, who had been on the force only two years, was shot and killed while chasing a man believed to have been scratching a patrol car with a tire iron. That chase began after Ward arrived to assist another officer who was pursuing a shoplifting suspect.
As Ward gave chase near the end of the fence which is between a convenience store and motel at U.S. 84 and Hwy. 14, a shot rang out.
During the chase the suspect, Heath Lamont Price, of Italy in Ellis County, dropped a matchbox, which Ward stopped to pick up. Price was hiding in bushes next to where Patrolman Ward was and opened fire from behind a fence with a .380 caliber automatic pistol. One round struck Ward in the side, passing between the panels of his vest, penetrating his aorta.
Ward was taken to Park­view Regional Hospital, where he died about two hours later. He was survived by his wife, Paula, mother and two brothers.
Price, who was arrested that day, was convicted in 1994 of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2029.