The 35-year-old Clay County Sheriff's Office detective gunned down Thursday night trying to bust a meth lab in Middleburg is remembered as being a war hero, a great deputy and a family man.
David White leaves behind a wife and two small children -- 3 months and 2 years old.
"He was just one of the finest officers and military men I've ever met," Sheriff Rick Beseler said at a Friday news conference. "He was one of the, just, an unbelievably nice individual that we will sorely miss."
Beseler met with White's family at the hospital late Thursday night.
"They are absolutely destroyed over this. This is something they'll never recover from," Beseler said. "I just went and offered my condolences and just how sorry I was this had happen and let them know we're going to be there for them."
With the Sheriff's Office for nine years, White's personnel file is full of evidence he was at the top of his class. Last August, White was named deputy of the month. His jacket also contains an email he be recognized for his role locating and dismantling another meth lab and an email commending White on his professionalism, saying the deputy helped the citizen renew his faith in law enforcement.
Beseler said White asked to be part of the narcotics and street crimes unit, which the sheriff considers the most dangerous assignment in his agency.
White grew up in Clay County, attending and graduating from MIddleburg High School, where he was a marching technician with the band.
Once with the Sheriff's Office, White was a bugler in the department's honor guard.
In addition to his job as a deputy, White was a specialist in the U.S. Army Reserve. He was a team leader in a military police platoon during deployments to Croatia, Bosnia and Iraq.
"Isn't it always strange that it's always our best officers that are the ones that you find that are the ones that are killed in the line of duty?" Beseler said. "Because they're out there, they're hard-charging, they're going after the bad guys, putting themselves in harm's way. It's always the best officers."
A viewing for White will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Russell Haven of Rest Cemetery and Funeral Home, 2335 Sandridge Road in Green Cove Springs. Funeral services set for 10 a.m. Monday at First Baptist Church in Middleburg will be for family, friends and the law enforcement community only.
The public is invited to pay respects as the funeral procession travels from the church to the cemetery.
Gov. Rick Scott ordered flags lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Monday at the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the Clay County Courthouse and Green Cove Springs City Hall.
Donations to assist the family are being accepted at the Clay County Sheriff's Office Humanitarian Fund at the Heritage Bank in Orange Park, account No. 1520387212.