A former Wichita police officer died Friday after falling from a bluff at Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo., according to an official with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Shane Little, 36, and another man were climbing a trail to the pinnacle of Oswalt Bluff at about 3 p.m. Friday when Little lost his footing and fell 30 to 40 feet to the base of the cliff, said Sgt. Jason Pace, public information officer for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Emergency personnel were called to the scene and transported Little across the lake to a nearby dock, where they were met by an ambulance from Springfield Mercy Hospital, Pace said. But efforts to resuscitate Little were unsuccessful, he said.
Little, a father of four, worked drug and gang cases for 11 years as an officer at Patrol North in Wichita and was a member of the SWAT unit. In 2011, he contracted bacterial meningitis, a rare brain and spinal infection that left him blind and unable to work. His wife, Amanda, also is a Wichita police officer.
Wichita’s Fraternal Order of Police rallied around the family during Little’s illness in 2011, setting up fundraisers to help the family with expenses their health insurance didn’t cover.
It was unclear Saturday how much of Little’s vision had been restored since that illness.
Members of the Fraternal Order of Police and local law enforcement support group Wives Backing the Badge established another fundraiser Saturday – via the online fundraising site GiveForward.com – to help Little’s family cover funeral costs and other expenses.
By late Saturday afternoon, donors had contributed about half of the $10,000 sought.
The fundraising goal is expected to increase in the coming days, Wives Backing the Badge said Saturday. To contribute, go to GiveForward.com and search for “Support for WPD family after tragic death.”
“Although Shane was not a current police officer, he was very much a part of the law enforcement family” in Wichita, the group said.
“We very much thought that this needed to happen.”
Little’s funeral services are set for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Central Christian Church, 2900 N. Rock Road in Wichita, the group said. Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Calvary Baptist Church, 1636 E. Patriot Ave. in Derby.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle