DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – At the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of the Guadalupe, a bell tolled 27 times Wednesday night, once for each year of Rogelio Santander’s life.

During evening mass, Father Angel Torres said a special prayer for the murdered officer, as colleagues sat listening in the pews.

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At the Dallas Police Department’s Northeast Patrol Station where Santander was stationed, citizens he once worked to protect came to pay tribute.

“They’re our heroes. You know? They’re our heroes,” said Luis Hernandez.

Flags at flew at half-staff, blue ribbons were tied around the building’s front columns, and flowers left by mourners covered the hood of a patrol car parked out front.

“It’s just hard… heartbreaking,” said Evaristo Mora.

His son once worked at the same Home Depot where Santander and his partner were shot yesterday.

“This time it was officers. Next time it could be people who work there. It makes me think of my family,” said Mora.

At Dallas’ Skyline High School, Coach Danny Barentine remembers the former soccer player who was always happy to help others.

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“Great team player, great friend to each one of the guys,” he said.

“I was proud of him, going through that difficult process of becoming a police officer,” said Coach Francisco Chavez, who graduated with Santander in 2009.

“He was that kind of person that put others first and was willing to help others,” he said.

After Chavez heard two officers were shot yesterday, he reached out to his old friend.

“I didn’t hear anything from Rogelio,” he said.

It wasn’t until Wednesday morning he learned the news.

“That’s when everything came crashing down,” he said.

Dallas Police scheduled a public candlelight vigil for Officer Santander Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Northeast Patrol Station. 

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Officer Rogelio Santander