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Arvada officer mourned by friends, co-workers and community

Friends described Officer Dillon Vakoff as having a "pure heart," saying he "left footprints all over the world” and always had a dose of encouragement for anyone.

ARVADA, Colo — The death of police officer Dillon Vakoff has not only rocked the Arvada community where he worked but people nearly a thousand miles away are mourning the loss.   

Investigators said Vakoff was shot and killed while responding to a family disturbance early Sunday morning. The person suspected of shooting Vakoff was also shot but is expected to survive.

Vakoff served in the U.S. Air Force for six years before joining the Arvada Police Department. For a period of that time, he was stationed in Louisiana at Barksdale Air Force Base (BAFB). That’s where Vakoff met Trey McGuire, the founder of the military non-profit EveryWarrior.org

“I'll just miss the pure heart he had,” McGuire told 9NEWS via Zoom on Monday. McGuire said Vakoff turned to his military non-profit when he began to think about what he wanted to do after his time in the military.

“He went home with this idea of maybe to start his own non-profit over time. To really help take care of officers who needed help. He wanted to make sure that people that were serving and stuff that they were not alone, that they were there with them,” McGuire explained. “He really left footprints all over the world.”

A world McGuire said is a little less bright without Vakoff in it. 

Credit: 9NEWS

McGuire described Vakoff as caring, real and especially consistent. A trait that shines through in an old BAFB article that highlighted Vakoff as the first person on base to bench a total of 185,000 pounds. It was a program hoping to push more airmen to reach new goals. Vakoff finished the challenge in less than a month.

“He was a very big influence to people,” McGuire added. “He was an encouragement. I'll miss the encouragement.”

That encouragement is something McGuire said he will hold on to. He hopes to push those near and far to live as Vakoff did.

“There was not a person who knew Dillon that did not think the world of him,” he said. “Love like Dillon.”

McGuire said he kept every text message he and Vakoff exchanged. He said he’s grateful he has those to look back on.

RELATED: Suspect identified in deadly shooting of Arvada officer

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