Santa Rosa PD mourns detective who died from COVID-19

Flags were at half-staff at the Santa Rosa Police Department after Detective Marylou Armer died of complications from the coronavirus.

"This is a very difficult situation. She was way too young. Something very unexpected," said Police Chief Rainer Navarro.

Armer's death Tuesday was the first from the coronavirus in Napa County where she lived. Her death was also believed to be the first law-enforcement death from the coronavirus in the state. 

"We are considering this a line-of-duty death," Navarro said.

Armer, 43, was a 20-year veteran and was married. She worked as a field evidence technician before becoming a sworn police officer in 2008.  As a detective with the domestic violence and sexual assault team, she interviewed crime victims at hospitals and jail inmates. Her last day at work was March 11.

"Marylou was a bright light. She always brought a smile and just had a sense of humor and a kind heart," the chief said.

Officer Stephen Bussell, president of the Santa Rosa Police Officers Association said, "She was a genuine human being .that served the community to the best of her abilities. She was a dedicated friend to everybody she met."

As the department mourns, seven other officers are also battling COVID-19 at home. Another has recovered.

Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm, a former police chief, said the shelter-in-place order bears repeating - for everyone's safety.

"Please stay at home. Maintain social distance. Wash hands frequently. Stay healthy."

Funeral arrangements are pending.