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Community mourns loss of dedicated mother, police officer

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Updated: 11/01/2013 11:48 pm
LAKE CITY, Fla. -- A small Florida community is in shock after a Thursday morning fire killed a police officer.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office says a fire engulfed a home on Dante Terrace just before 1 a.m. The home belonged to Lake City Police Investigator David Greear. Greear is a 14-year veteran of the force.

Deputies say Greear was able to escape from the flames with minor injuries, but another officer inside the home was not as lucky.

Lake City Police Officer Brandi Jackson died inside the home. Jackson had only been on the force for two months.

Her family didn't want to speak on camera but stated, "Brandi was very self-determined and motivated. She always worked to be able to provide for her two children that she's leaving behind."

Jackson's children are ages 2 and 4. We also learned Jackson spent time volunteering at the Columbia County Courthouse before joining the force.

"When you have a new member brought into your family, you begin to love them immediately, and that immediate separation is like ripping out a piece of your heart," said Steve Shaw with the Lake City Police Department. "We're a small agency where everybody knows everybody and that bond forms quickly."

Mark Cunningham is an associate pastor at Hopeful Baptist Church. That's where Jackson's oldest child plays sports.

He spent time Thursday with Jackson's family praying and consoling them after the loss of the young single mother.

While investigators salvage the clues left behind in the charred home, a tight-knit community is feeling a big loss on Halloween.

"She wanted to do something for her community," said Shaw. "That's why she looked to law enforcement -- her passion was to do that."

Meanwhile, Greear was released from the hospital early Thursday and is recovering from minor injuries.

This isn't Greear's first brush with death. A suspect shot Greear in the leg with an automatic weapoin back in September 2011 during a standoff.

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office has not stated if the fire is suspicious.
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