KILGORE — The Kilgore Police Department is asking for prayers for one of its own hospitalized because of COVID-19.

Detective Joey Johnston was hospitalized at Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center — Longview earlier this month after being diagnosed with the virus. Police asked residents for prayers Saturday on social media for Johnston and his family, writing Johnston “needs them desperately today.”

“Detective Joey Johnston and the Department have received tremendous outpouring of support from the community during his illness,” KPD Assistant Chief Johnathan Gage said by email. “We have remained in contact with Detective Johnston’s wife and family, who remain optimistic and determined to see him through this terrible illness and into a full recovery. Though he is still seriously ill, he has shown improvement in recent days and we are hopeful he will be able to return home soon. We would like to thank everyone for all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers for Joey and his family.”

Kilgore police also noted Johnston’s mother, Susan, has been holding a daily vigil in the hospital parking lot, holding up a sign her son can see from his hospital window.

Johnston was sworn in as a Kilgore officer in November 2015.

In 2019, KPD named him Officer of the Year at the 28th annual Giants of Law Enforcement Banquet at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center in Longview.

According to KPD, Johnston has been responsible for multiple high-profile arrests.

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