Captain David Smith says 55-year-old Elieser Colonroche was participating in a training exercise at the local community college on Tramway Street. He was rappelling down a building when eyewitnesses say he may have hit the side of the building.
Police believe it was a freak accident and are looking at all of the equipment that was used.
Colonroche was airlifted to UNC Hospitals where he died from internal injuries.
A native of Puerto Rico, Colonroche retired from the Army after 22 years of service in the 82nd Airborne. Then he joined the Sanford Police Department in 2002.
He had served with the Sanford police for almost 11 years. He is survived by his wife and three sons.
The family will receive friends from 6-8 p.m. Saturday at Bridges-Cameron Funeral Home in Sanford. A graveside service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 12 at the Sandhill's State Veteran's Cemetery in Spring Lake.