(CBS) -- "I mean, Brent, he is a true American and we have lost a hero," said Toby Mileski, a friend of Mayor Brent Taylor.
Mileski was a fellow mayor in a neighboring Utah city, when he and Taylor became close friends. Taylor was sworn in as North Ogden mayor in 2013.
"He did the right thing for the right reasons. I think that's why people liked him so much."
The Utah National Guard says Taylor was a decorated military intelligence officer with Joint Force Headquarters. He earned a purple heart and a bronze star during previous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Officials say Taylor was shot and killed by an Afghan trainee on Saturday, leaving behind his wife and seven children.
"My heart bleeds for those kids. I can't imagine what they're going to go through," said Jon Call, North Ogden's city administrator and an attorney.
The couple's children range in age from 10 months to 13-years old.
Taylor's death is reverberating through the small community of North Ogden, with a population of about 17,000 people. Utah Governor Gary Herbert praised Taylor's life-long service.
"He was the personification of love of God, family, and country," he said.
Taylor is the third American to be killed in an insider attack in Afghanistan since July.