Fallen Polk County officer ‘died a hero,' family says

By: Chris Jose , Steve Gehlbach

Updated:

POLK COUNTY, Ga. - "She died a hero." That is the way the husband of a slain Polk County police officer is remembering his wife. 

Detective Kristen Hearne died Friday after investigators say she was acting as backup when she and a fellow officer were checking on a suspicious vehicle. Police said Seth Spangler and a woman approached the officers and then shot them. 

[PHOTOS: Family photos of fallen Detective Kristen Hearne]

Her husband, Matt Hearne, and her mother, Trish Brewer, sat down with Channel 2’s Chris Jose on Friday night and told him about their good times with Kristen, a wife and mother they said was devoted to her family and community. 

“She died a hero doing what she loved to do,” Matt Hearne told Jose.

Hearne said he was not far from the scene where his wife was shot and killed Friday morning when he got a phone call. 

“I stepped out of the truck and the next thing I know the sheriff of the county came running up to me and said, ‘You need to get to the hospital. Kristen has been shot.’ That was the worst feeling I ever had,” Hearne said.  

[RAW VIDEO: Husband of slain police officer talks about wife]

Matt Hearne, like his wife, is a law enforcement officer. He is a lieutenant with the Aragon Police Department. He was off duty when he got the tragic news. 

Sharing family photos, Hearne told Jose how Kristen was a devoted officer and wife. He said nothing gave the couple greater joy than their 3-year-old son, Isaac.

“It’s something nobody should ever have to go through. But I want him (Isaac) to grow up knowing that his mom loved him unconditionally. One of the best women who ever walked the face of this earth,” Hearne said. 

“I have four boys and one girl. Can't nobody take that place and can never have another one,” mother Trish Brewer said. “When they pulled into my yard, and they told me, I screamed. I cried. I hollered.”

Kristen Hearne served in Polk County for five years. She began her career in law enforcement nearly a decade ago.

[RAW VIDEO: Mother of slain police officer remembers daughter]

“The pain is deep. The hurt is deep. The sorrow is deep. But she lives on within us,” Matt Hearne said.  

Hearne told Jose he and Kristen just had a conversation about leaving their careers in law enforcement. Just too dangerous, he said.

Kristen Hearne was 29 years old.

A visitation for Hearne will be held Monday from 3 to 9 p.m. at Victory Baptist Church. Her funeral will he held at the same location on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

A GoFundMe page has been created if you'd like to help. Click HERE

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