Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com
Officer Jillian Smith's family and close friends are trying to wrap their heads around what happened Tuesday night, that led to the rookie Arlington Police officer's death.
Smith was responding to a domestic disturbance call when she was shot and killed Tuesday night while trying to protect an 11-year-old girl. Arlington police said Barnes Samuel Netteles, 38, killed Smith and Kimberly Deshay Carter, 29, before he turned the gun on himself. Carter's daughter escaped the apartment unharmed.
At the Arlington Police Department's South District Station, a lone police car sits covered in flowers and signs of support.
"We greatly appreciate the support from everyone, the condolences, the phone calls, the text messages," said Ron Haney, Smith's uncle.
The police car symbolizes just how much the loss of one person can affect an entire community.
"She was so young," said Janette Bates, mother of Smith's high school best friend. "It's tragic. It's a loss to a wonderful family. It's a loss to us as another family and it's a loss to the community."
Officer Jillian Smith was gunned down while responding to a domestic dispute Tuesday night. She ended up saving the life of an 11 year old girl.
"Just a hero in my mind," said Haney.
The path Smith has taken, no one will soon forget.
"[She] had the talents to do anything she really set her heart on doing and this law enforcement is something she really wanted to do," said Haney.
Shatya Bates, Smith's best friend from high school still can't believe she's gone.
"She was a really good person," said Bates.
All of Bates' memories are captured in photos-- from high school prom to the cheerleading squad the two were on together.
"It's just a little hard on me because I wish I would have got to just talk to her again," said Bates.
There's just two things Bates would have wanted to say to Smith.
"I love you and you'll always be my friend," she said.
Sentiments echoed by Smith's life-long best friend; her older sister Jessica. Smith's uncle read a statement from her Thursday morning.
"This is from her sister Jessica and she says, Jill the bond between us is so strong. No one could ever take that away from us. We have shared every moment of our lives together and they are the best moments ever," said Haney.
Smith's life was one cut short in its prime.
"Being in the Arlington Police force, this was just the beginning," said Janette Bates. "I could see her, so much more in front of her."
She may be gone, but friend and family say she'll never be forgotten.
"She's a hero," said Bates. "With a warm heart and nobody can take that from her."