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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police Officer Sean Bolton’s family released the following statement Tuesday evening:

Sean Michael Bolton lived a life defined by duty. Following in the footsteps of his father, Sean enlisted in the United States Marines Corps, even doing so after knowing the mental and physical scars his father brought back from Vietnam. When Sean jo ined the Marines, he came home from boot camp a stronger and better person. He had a new drive to help others and step in to defend the defenseless. He didn’t talk much about his service but he was deeply proud of being a Marine. During his tour in Iraq, there were horrible moments but also, in typical Sean fashion, moments of surprising humanity. He happened to meet an Iraqi farmer who spoke Spanish and they started having a conversation in broken Spanish, there in the middle of Iraq.

Sean loved being a Memphis cop. While he had offers to leave the police force and do other types of law enforcement, he loved being on the streets of his hometown. Sean genuinely wanted to help all Memphians to live safely and peaceably within our community. Sean’s concern, his only concern, was not the color of the skin of the person he was dealing with but rather whether or not they were committing a crime. When others ran away, Sean was the first to run towards danger, regardless of his personal safety.

We knew Sean, not only as the tough Marine and cop but as a son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew and cousin. We knew the intelligence that led him to learn to speak multiple languages and read voraciously. We saw the passion to move and be active that led him to practice several martial art disciplines, regularly run 5K races and play a variety of sports. We heard about the very quiet ways he supported our community although Sean wasn’t the type to talk about how he gave back. Since his death, we have heard about the numerous ways he touched the Memphis community and made an impact without ever seeking recognition or attention.

We would like to thank Director Toney Armstrong and all the officers of the Memphis Police Department for their support and outstanding work. We know they share our sorrow at losing a brother. We would also like to thank the people of Memphis and this country for their tributes and prayers during this difficult time. It means so much to know that Sean’s sacrifice has not gone unnoticed. We hope that more than any political statement or news media sound byte, Sean’s death will inspire each of us to a call to duty for our community. We hope that we may all follow in Sean’s footsteps to treat each other with kindness and respect, take quiet actions to benefit those who need help and to always continue learning and growing. We love and miss Sean and will always do so. He was an amazing man and the world is a little worse off for losing him.