Downtown cop died Friday due to injuries in motorcycle accident
By Othor Cain
Saturday, April 1, started out as a pretty normal day for Jackson police officer Cpl. Allen Harper Jr. He did chores around the house, ran errands and checked off his to-do-list as tasks were completed.
Allen was off duty from his full time job with the Jackson Police Department, a job he did well and loved, a job he held for 22 years. As the sun was beginning to fade to make room for a glistening moon-light, Harper was riding his motorcycle, heading towards downtown Jackson to work another job that also brought him joy – being a security officer at Underground 119.
Then the unthinkable happened. Harper collided with another vehicle at the intersection of State and High Streets. The city paused as news began to spread about an off-duty officer being struck by another vehicle. This incident remains under investigation. Preliminary results showed the vehicle made a turn in front of Harper.
Fast forward to Friday, April 7. What a difference a week makes. Harper’s family decided to remove him from life support and he died from injuries sustained in that incident. Harper was 43. Initially, family members said Harper was expected to make a full recovery, however, Monday, April 3, they announced he was in critical condition.
A 22-year veteran of the department, Harper leaves behind a wife, two biological children and two additional children through marriage.
“What a tragedy for his family,” Chief Lee Vance said Friday afternoon. “It’s a tough day for all of us. I think the thing that compounds the loss is, a week ago today, Allen was walking around a healthy man, bright future, doing well in the police department and, less than a week later, we’re talking about him dying from a terrible accident that occurred last Saturday. The thing that compounds the loss is the shock of it. Nobody expected this.”
Harper’s family released a statement Friday, calling the fallen officer a “hero.”
“The family of Corporal Allen J. Harper Jr. is deeply saddened to inform you that Allen made his transition into heaven this morning at 8:52 a.m. On Saturday, April 1, 2017, Allen was involved in a motorcycle accident. We are relieved that his passing was peaceful and painless. Even in his death, he was a hero by giving the gift of life through organ donation.”
A public viewing will be held from 1-6 p.m. Thursday at Jackson Memorial Funeral Home on Woodrow Wilson Avenue. Harper’s funeral is at 11 a.m. Friday at New Horizon Church on Ellis Avenue in Jackson.