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Lafayette police remained at the scene early Monday where a police officer was shot and killed in a shootout at a Big Boy convenience store on Sunday night. (Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK)

Friends and family remember Cpl. Michael Paul Middlebrook as an officer who loved serving in the Lafayette Police Department. His tragic death in a shooting at a north Lafayette convenience store is a loss not only for his family and fellow officers but the community at large.

Police said the nine-year officer, a U.S. Army veteran, died at the hands of a gunman who was arrested Sunday night. Two other people at the scene of the shooting were wounded but are expected to survive.

What also should survive is the memory of a police officer who served his community with a passion for police work that helps keep us all safer.

The little things tell us a lot: In March, Middlebrook was honored with the state's Heart of Law Enforcement Award for collecting food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to those in need.

We need more like him, not fewer.

It says a lot about the terror of our times that the shooting of a local police officer wasn't the biggest act of violence in this week's news cycle. That grim distinction fell to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left nearly 60 people dead and some 500 wounded. But Middlebrook's death, as well as the carnage in Las Vegas, underscore the debt we owe to first responders who risk their lives in the line of duty.

Middlebrook paid the ultimate price for his service. His death is a reminder that in a world that can seem cynical and dark, selflessness and valor can still prevail.