GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Greensboro Police are reeling from a heartbreaking loss.
Jared Franks, a 24-year-old officer with the department, died in the line of duty Saturday night.
"It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that both this department and this community have lost a hero," Chief Wayne Scott said.
A heartbroken police chief delivered one of the toughest messages. Chief Wayne Scott said for the first time in seventeen years, a Greensboro Police officer has died in the line of duty.
"Quite frankly has been some of the most trying times for this police department in that last 12 hours that I have experienced as chief," Chief Scott said.
At around 7:45 Saturday night, an officer saw what looked like a robbery on Randleman Road. The alleged suspect got in a car and the officer started following, calling for back up. Officer Jared Franks responded.
"Mr. Franks had arrived on scene, made contact with a police car causing some damage ,and eventually leaving the initial contact and striking a house," the chief said.
First responders tried to help him, but Officer Franks later died. He had only been an officer since March 2017.
Chief Scott said Franks had strong ties with Greensboro Police, with family both retired from and currently serving with the department.
"He’s a young officer. He did outstanding work for this department and the city. He’s part of this family. Several members of his family have retired from this organization, and some still currently serve with us. He had a great reputation, and he cares about his community and he was working hard to try to do his job," Chief Scott said.
Friends of Franks say he had a passion for giving back. Dale Smith went to college with Franks.
“He was a ball of energy. He was a very selfless guy as well; he would give you the clothes off his back,” Smith said.
Smith said his friend was always very caring.
“His selflessness, I mean just him being a civil servant that speaks for itself, that he put his uniform on everyday knowing the dangers,” he said.
Friends say Officer Franks had a passion for being a police officer because he loved the job and wanted a way to give back.
Greensboro Police are still investigating the crash and the robbery that sparked it all. There was another officer injured, but that officer was treated and released from the hospital.