ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — The day after the death of 27-year-old Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff, his friends are still in disbelief he’s gone.

“When you find out it is him, it’s shock. Disbelief,” said Justin Shoemate, a close friend of the officer.

Shoemate said he knew Vakoff worked the graveyard shift and would check in with him often to make sure he was OK. Shoemate said when he woke up Sunday morning and heard an officer died, he sent Vakoff a text.

Justin Shoemate and slain Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff (Credit: Justin Shoemate)

“When I see those types of things, I text him to make sure everything is alright, and I didn’t get a text back,” Shoemate said.

From there, he received a call from his mom learning Vakoff was that officer.

“The line of duty was meant for him,” Shoemate said.

Arvada officer had ‘tons of passion for his job’

He and Vakoff had known each other since 2013. He said they became close in the last five years.

“He had tons of passion for his job,” Shoemate said.

Vakoff, according to Shoemate, loved the gym and talked about his future plans often.

“We talked about SWAT. He tried for over a year. His main goal was SWAT,” Shoemate said.

FOX31 and Channel 2 spent a lot of time at the memorial outside of Arvada Police Department headquarters on Monday. Dozens of people, some strangers, some friends and family brought flowers. Others wrote well wishes in chalk.

“He always had a smile on his face. He’d come up behind you and bear hug you. You just wish you could have that one more time,” Shoemate said.

Arvada Police said the memorial will stay up throughout the week.