An Irish police officer shot dead during a robbery was part of a dedicated police family - his widow, two brothers and extended family are also members of the Gardai.
Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe, 41, a father-of-two was gunned down half a mile from home as he tried to stop raiders escaping with cash from a Credit Union close to the border town of Dundalk, Co Louth.
Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said the entire force had been deeply shocked and saddened by the murder - the first of a serving officer in 17 years.
He said: "He was a very popular member of An Garda Siochana, a very efficient member, someone who was revered both by his peers and members of the community where he served."
A wide police cordon is in place around the scene outside Lordship Credit Union at Bellurgan, Jenkinstown which is about seven miles outside Dundalk. Specialists from the Garda Forensic and Technical Bureau were combing the area. A blue tent was erected in the Credit Union carpark.
The officer's body was taken to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Dundalk where a post mortem examination was expected to be carried out. Detectives are still investigating whether subversive elements such as dissident republicans were involved or whether a criminal gang was responsible.
It is understood the armed gang of four men were waiting outside to rob the Credit Union which stays open late on Fridays.
Mr Donohoe approached the gang and a number of shots were fired before they fled in a grey Volkswagen Passat. It is understood he was hit in the head without warning and before he had drawn his police-issue weapon.
A book of condolence was opened at Dundalk police station where the murdered officer was based. Mr Donohoe was originally from Co Cavan but was actively involved with the community in Co Louth. He is survived by his widow Caroline and two children, a boy and a girl.
Irish president Michael D Higgins described the killing as a dreadful crime and said all Irish people would be truly appalled. Prime Minister Enda Kenny said the murder was an outrageous and appalling act of cold blooded violence.