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SMYRNA, TN.

Joshua Haffner always had wanted to be a police officer and a dad. The two dreams collided tragically late Thursday night when Haffner's 3-year-old son, Jake, accidentally shot him in the back with his service weapon, killing him, according to information from police here and in Metro.

Haffner, 22, a new officer with the Metro Police Department, had completed his training Nov. 1. His wife, Amy Haffner, is eight months pregnant with their second son.

''Josh worked hard, played hard. He really loved life,'' said Brian Norfleet, who graduated with Haffner from Smyrna High School in 1997.

Josh Haffner had just arrived at his apartment at Village Lake Townhomes in Smyrna after his 2:30-11 p.m. shift Thursday night and laid his belt with his firearm on the kitchen table, police said.

He was talking to his wife when his son shot him in the back with his gun, said Sgt. Ken Hampton of the Smyrna Police Department.

When the ambulance arrived, Haffner's wife was applying pressure to his wound. He was rushed to nearby Smyrna Airport and airlifted to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he died just after 1:20 a.m. in surgery, police said.

Metro Police Chief Emmett Turner and Assistant Chief Judy Bawcum went to VUMC and met Haffner's family, along with almost all of the Metro rookies who graduated with him from the police academy earlier this winter.

''When you train for almost six months together, you become very close,'' said Turner, who gave yesterday off to all of Haffner's classmates so they could meet with counselors and talk to one another about the loss.

Haffner and Bawcum, along with two police chaplains, peer counselors and the police psychologist, met with the rookies in Haffner's class at the South Sector police station.

Police pieced together the events leading up to the shooting based on statements from Amy Haffner. Hampton said nothing has raised questions about those statements. Haffner had no history of domestic abuse, he said.

Friends described Haffner yesterday as ''all-American,'' a natural football player and a devoted Christian who, in high school, held the bench press record his senior year and was a member of the French club. He was a man who loved life and loved being a police officer, friends in the Police Department said yesterday.

''To Josh, that was the only thing he ever wanted to do,'' said Metro Police Officer Joe Winter, who graduated with Haffner in November and who lives in the Haffners' Smyrna apartment complex.

Winter, who saw the blue lights outside Haffner's apartment Thursday night, said the officer had a sharp wit and was known for lightening up some of the grueling work at the police academy.

Haffner's son, Winter said, was one of the great joys of his life. ''You could tell that he loved his son,'' he said. ''That was one of the things he was most proud of his boy.''

He met his wife when the two were working at Wal-Mart after his senior year of high school, and the two were to celebrate their three-year wedding anniversary this month, said Haffner's brother, Mathew Haffner.

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