SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Family and friends along with the Shreveport community are mourning the loss of Shreveport Police Officer Thomas LaValley, who was killed in the line of duty Wednesday night.
To his friends, Thomas LaValley wasn't just a close friend, he was family.
"I still can't believe it," said Casey Habich, who has been a friend of LaValley for years.
Habich refers to LaValley as his best friend and "little brother."
"When the chief spoke his name and confirmed it, that was all too real," Habich said, tearing up.
Close friend Chris Redford also described LaValley as family and can't imagine never hearing from him again.
"Not a day went by where we didn't hear from Thomas," he said.
They describe Officer LaValley as a dedicated friend, someone who loved his mom and his home state of Louisiana. He even had a cat named Drew Brees.
"He's one of the greatest guys I've ever known and this city has ever known, even if you didn't know him," said Redford.
Though LaValley was someone who rarely smiled in photos, they say his personality painted a different picture.
"Underneath that tough exterior, he was the friendliest guy you would ever meet," said Habich, who describes him as a very motivated person. "If he said he was going to do something, he was going to do it."
LaValley wanted to be a police officer and after trying twice, finally achieved his dream the third time. His friends say he had the perfect personality to be a police officer.
"Thomas was just one of those people, would give you his arm, he would break his back for you, whether he knew you or not, because it was the right thing to do," said Habich.
LaValley was one to always put others first.
"Now, is his turn to come first," Redford said.
LaValley died doing what he loved, protecting others.
"I don't know what went on in that house for those few seconds, but I guarantee, Thomas went into that house with the idea that he was going to help," said Redford. "I guarantee he went into the house with the idea he was going to walk out."
LaValley's family was flown into the area from South Louisiana by State Police. LaValley will be buried in his hometown in South Louisiana.