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DENVER (KDVR) — Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley lost his life when he was the first on the scene of a mass shooting that killed a total of 10 people at a King Soopers on Monday afternoon.

Talley, 51, had been with the department since 2010. Friends and family confirmed to Nexstar’s KDVR that he was a family man who had seven children between ages 5 and 18.

The Washington Post reports that Talley joined the police academy at age 40 after losing a friend in a DUI crash. He reportedly left behind a lucrative career in Information Technology and a master’s degree to become an officer.

KDVR spoke to Talley’s father hours after he was identified as the fallen officer in the shooting.

“He was a man of heart who loved his job,” Homer Talley told KDVR.

He described Talley as someone who loved his family as he leaves behind seven children. He said Talley was a very good father, the family is holding up, and that Talley’s wife was “a rock.”

Talley was born in Houston but spent most of his life in New Mexico before moving to Colorado where he has been for several years.

Talley told his father that he would lay down his life for any of the officers that he worked with in a conversation the two had recently.

Homer said his son was a man of faith, a believer in Jesus Christ and he loved his family more than anything. Talley had a master’s degree in computer science but decided to become a police officer.

“I just had that officer’s family in my office two weeks ago to give him an award so it is personal,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a press conference following the shooting Monday.

Herold called Talley’s actions “heroic.”