‘He is my hero;’ Father of fallen Clark County deputy speaks after deadly shooting

CLARK COUNTY — The father of a deputy killed in the line of duty is speaking out about his son’s death for the first time.

Clark County Sheriff’s deputy Matthew Yates died after coming under fire Sunday while responding to shots of gunfire at Harmony Estates Mobile Home Park.

Yates’ father, a retired sheriff’s deputy, sat down with News Center 7′s Mike Campbell exclusively on Tuesday.

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The Clark County Sheriff’s Office set up a cruiser at the plaza of Springfield City Hall so that the community could honor Yates. It is being overwhelmed with bouquets of flowers honoring the 15-year veteran.

For Yates’ father, Eugene Yates, he’s more than a deputy—he’s a much loved and cherished son.

“My baby boy laid there with a gunshot wound to his face,” Yates said.

>> VIDEO: Law enforcement procession escorts fallen Clark County deputy back to Springfield

Yates is still trying to come to grips with what happened to his son. The wife of a fellow deputy called him to warn him of trouble.

He rushed to the scene, but was held back like everyone else. Yates told News Center 7 that law enforcement put a drone up to see what was happening and could see a deputy down inside the mobile home.

“The only deputy in there was my son, I knew it was him, I knew it was him,” Yates said.

Yates told News Center 7 his son was inside the mobile home for several hours before he could be rescued. Deputies were driven back by heavy gunfire during every rescuer attempt until the final one.

The family followed Matthew Yates to the hospital where doctors told them he died before he arrived.

“He got shot in the chin, he could have lived,” Yates said.

Gene Yates served 34 years as a deputy before retiring. His son served for 15 years.

Yates, a proud dad, told News Center 7 he raised a great son that was loved by the community he served.

“Matthew always told me that I was his hero, today he is my hero, that’s my hero,” Yates said.

Visitation and funeral services have been planned to honor Yates. For more information, you can click here.