FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Sgt. Gary Morales comes from a family of people who devoted their lives to law enforcement.
His dad worked for the New York Police Department.
His brother was on the job today as a sheriff's deputy in St. Lucie County.
And tonight, lawmen everywhere are in mourning.
The flag at half-staff at the Fort Pierce police station shows how everyone feels.
"I have two children and they kid me that I have 600 children. One of my children I lost today," said St. Lucie Co. Sheriff Ken Mascara.
Morales was a relentless worker.
"I love my job," he said in a 2008 video produced by the sheriff's department. "We'll go out and check warrants 3-4 in the morning. We don't stop."
He rose through the ranks.
In 2001 then-Deputy Morales posed as an undercover high school student.
During "Operation Safe Kids" he helped break up a ring of people selling guns and drugs.
"His father shared with me that never did they think Gary would be in this predicament because Gary was so operationally sound. On the SWAT team," said Mascara. "He was the most fit guy in our agency just about."
When he was promoted to sergeant in January, the sheriff pointed out that he's won three awards for exceptional duty. At one point, he even considered becoming a Federal agent.
"I said, Gary, you sure you want to leave your local hometown and go to a Federal agency," Mascara recalled. "I said, your family is here. I said, you really need to stick with us. The day I promoted him, he said sheriff, I'm so glad I stuck here."
He not only served our community. He served our country.
Sgt. Morales was a member of the United States Air Force.