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MARION COUNTY, Ind. — She was small with a big heart, and leaves behind a legacy of love and friendship, cherished by all of those who wear a badge.

“I had the distinct honor and privilege to be her commander,” said Deputy Chief Brittany Seligman of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, talking about the death of Deputy Tamieka White, a 16-year veteran of the department.

White was dog-sitting Tuesday night at a home near East 16th Street and Post Road. Indianapolis Metro Police were called to the home around 9 o’clock where they found White and her son with serious injuries. The dog, still aggressive, was shot and killed by police.

“She died last night protecting the most important person in her life in a tragic animal attack in her home,” said Deputy Chief Seligman in a press conference Wednesday, “Deputy White was kind and compassionate, and although she was tiny in stature, she had a very big heart. You never saw her without a smile on her face, and she would do anything to help her friends, her family and her fellow deputies.”

Animal Care Services came and removed three other dogs from the home while police investigated. Police say it’s unclear who the dogs belong to, but they were “meant to be” at the home.

Deputy White’s son is still recovering from his injuries.