It happened on Friday morning in rural Georgia, while Polk County officer Kristen Hearne, 29, and her partner David Goodrich were responding to a stolen vehicle report. The suspect, Seth Brandon Spangler, 31, shot and killed Hearne, injuring Goodrich, who was saved from serious injury as he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Before the incident, Spangler was wanted on a probation violation.

Officers respond to a stolen vehicle report

Polk County Sheriff Kenny Dodd said Hearne and Goodrich were responding to reports of a Stolen Car when they came across Spangler and a woman, 22-year-old Samantha Roof, in a wooded area close to Cedartown on the Alabama border.

As reported by the New York Daily News, as officers arrived on the scene, Spangler pulled out a gun and fatally shot Hearne before turning the gun on Goodrich. Dodd said shortly afterwards Roof and Spangler were arrested, with the gunman reportedly wearing no clothes.

Hearne had been with the Polk County Sheriff’s office for five years and leaves a husband and three-year-old child.

Officer’s family speak about their loss

Speaking to WSB-TV 2, the officer’s husband, Matt Hearne, together with Hearne’s mother, Trish Brewer, said she was a wife and mother, who was devoted to both her family and the community.

Matt said his wife had died a hero doing what she loved to do. Hearne is a fellow law enforcement officer, working with the Aragon Police Department and was off duty when he received the news. He said he was close to the scene of the Shooting when he stepped out of his truck to see the sheriff running up to him, telling him he needed to go to the hospital as his wife had been shot.

He said it was the worst feeling he had ever experienced.

Hearne went on to share family photos, saying nothing had given him and his wife greater joy than their three-year-old son, Isaac. He said he wants his son to grow up knowing his mother had unconditionally loved him, adding that she was among the best women ever to walk on this earth.

Kristin’s mother, Trish, said she has four sons and one daughter. She said no one can take her daughter’s place and she can never have another. Brewer said when police pulled into her yard and told her the news, she screamed and cried.

While she had been with the Polk County Sheriff's office for five years, Hearne had started her career in law enforcement almost a decade ago and Hearne said the couple had recently spoken about leaving their law enforcement careers as it is becoming too dangerous.

According to ABC News, Spangler was already wanted on a probation violation with Walker County on child cruelty and drug charges and is now facing aggravated assault and felony murder charges.