Family, friends mourn the loss of Nashville police officer - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Memphis family, friends mourn the loss of Nashville police officer

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The 25-year-old moved to Nashville from Memphis after serving in the Tennessee Army National Guard. The 25-year-old moved to Nashville from Memphis after serving in the Tennessee Army National Guard.

(WMC) - A Memphis native was killed in the line of duty while working as a Metro Nashville Police Officer and Sunday night friends are remembering 25-year-old Michael Petrina.

The former University of Memphis student was killed Saturday while responding to an accident on the interstate in Nashville. Those left behind in Memphis are struggling to accept the tragic loss.

The news still comes as a shock to friends and family because it was not long ago that he graduated from the academy. The moment of his pinning ceremony captured by his soon to be sister-in-law is now a moment, like so many others, that bring joy in this time of sadness.

Former WMC Action News 5 employee April Flagg met Petrina just two years ago. In that short time, he left a lasting impact.

"His smile brightened the room," said Flagg. "He was a soldier here and now he's a soldier up in heaven."

Flagg last heard from Petrina at 10:54 a.m. Friday after she finished the Bartlett Citizen Police Academy.

"He said 'Congratulation's on your graduation, I take it you learned a lot and thank you for your compliment. And hey, if you enjoyed it so much come on over to the thin blue line.'"

Saturday morning Petrina was killed while trying to direct traffic of Interstate 65 in Nashville.

"And I just broke down because stuff like that is not supposed to happen like that," noted Flagg.

News quickly spread across all of Petrina's circles. Within hours hundreds of comments took over his Facebook wall, many from friends who called themselves "The Rowdy Crowd".

"I just can't imagine a world without Mike, you know, he's just so happy, so enthusiastic, you wouldn't think that it would be his time," said Krista Spencer.

The 25-year-old moved to Nashville from Memphis after serving in the Tennessee Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of Memphis with a criminal justice degree and had so much of his life ahead.

"Because his smile was so bright, every time the sun peaks behind the clouds it's Mike. So he'll always be with us," added Flagg.

WMC Action News 5 has received a great deal of messages and memories into the newsroom, evidence that Petrina touched a lot of lives in his short time.

Friends and family are welcome to leave encouraging messages in the comments section below.

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