FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Friends of a Selma police officer who was shot and killed on Tuesday are sharing their memories of the man behind the badge.
"The reason God woke you up today means so much more than you can even begin to imagine. God woke you up because there's people that still need you and God himself needs you walking this earth," read Frankie Bustamante, a childhood friend of Officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr.
Those would be the last words Carrasco Jr. sent to a group chat with his friends.
In the thread, childhood friends and teammates say the fallen officer proved to be a protector, both professionally and personally.
"I'm still in shock, I cried all day yesterday, we cried all day yesterday," said Bustamante.
The pair met while playing basketball together at Reedley High School and became fast friends.
Bustamante says it was incredible to watch Carrasco Jr.'s journey from high school athlete to police officer.
"We would go down to Pizza Planet and get our cheese bread, scrape up a couple bucks. We're all grown up have jobs everything was so perfectly in line and then this happened."
Bustamante says his friend was someone who lived to put service above self, starting with his growing family.
"That was the first thing that came to my mind was he's never going to get to hold his baby boy," said Bustamante.
That baby boy is due later this month.
Bustamante says Carrasco Jr. would ask him for advice to prepare not just for fatherhood, but to be a supportive partner.
"He had the stroller ready, he had the car seat ready, the clothes ready, the diapers ready," Bustamante explained.
Carrasco Jr. graduated from Reedley High School in 2016. In addition to basketball, he also played volleyball and participated in Reedley's Explorer Program.
Reedley High School Athletic Director Darren Minami was Carrasco Jr.'s basketball coach for two years
He describes Carrasco Jr. as a dream player whose character shined as much as his talent.
"He would get as excited about a behind the back no-look pass to his teammate than him scoring a winning layup," said Minami.
Kings Canyon Unified Superintendent John Campbell says he's assembled a crisis response team to not only support Carrasco Jr.'s family, including his younger brother who is a student, but for the entire grief stricken community.
"He's the epitome of what you can do. Farmworker parents, go to school, work hard, do the right thing, get a good job, protecting your community. He's what a lot of our community strives to be," said Campbell.
A memorial fund has been set up for the family of Carrasco Jr.
Contributions to the fund can be sent to:
Fresno Deputy Sheriff's Association
C/O Selma POA Memorial Fund
1360 Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, Ca 93721.