A former mayor from Utah who has served in the state’s National Guard since 2013 was identified Saturday as the U.S. service member who was killed in an “insider attack” in Afghanistan earlier in the day, according to reports.
Brent Taylor, a married father of seven children who was deployed to Afghanistan in January, was a former mayor of North Ogden, a city of about 17,000 people located about 46 miles north of Salt Lake City. Taylor resigned from the mayor’s office before he went overseas, the Standard-Examiner of Ogden reported.
Taylor’s death was confirmed by North Ogden City Councilman Phil Swanson, who spoke with FOX 13 Salt Lake City. Swanson described Taylor as a “one of a kind” person.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in a Twitter message, described Taylor’s death as “devastating” news.
“Brent was a hero, a patriot, a wonderful father, and a dear friend,” Sen. Hatch wrote. “News of his death in Afghanistan is devastating. My prayers and love are with Jennie and his 7 young children. His service will always be remembered.”
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, wrote on Facebook that Taylor was “the definition of the term ‘public servant.'”
“In the coming days,” Sen. Lee wrote, “Utahns who never had the privilege of meeting Brent will learn what kind of man North Ogden and the Taylor family have lost, and will join them in grieving his tragic loss.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Maj. Gen. Jefferson S. Burton of the Utah National Guard plan to speak with reporters at noon Sunday local time at the state Guard’s headquarters, FOX 13 reported.
In a statement Saturday, Herbert called Taylor a “brave and selfless soldier,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
“The entire Herbert family mourns with this soldier’s family and we pray that their burdens may be lifted, and that the hearts of all Utahns will reach out to comfort them in their grief,” the governor added.
“My heart breaks for the loss and sacrifice of our soldier, particularly for the family,” Burton said in a statement, according to the Tribune. “I wish them all the comfort and courage to face the difficult days ahead.”
In a Facebook post in January, soon after his deployment, Taylor described what serving as a mayor and as a Guardsmen meant to him.
“Serving as the mayor of North Ogden city has been one of the greatest honors of my life and the highlight of my civilian professional career,” Taylor wrote. “Service is really what leadership is all about.”
“Serving as the mayor of North Ogden city has been one of the greatest honors of my life and the highlight of my civilian professional career. Service is really what leadership is all about.”
The attack in which Taylor was killed happened in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Taylor was the eighth American killed in action in the country this year.
Saturday’s attack was the fifth “insider attack” in the past four months against U.S. forces.
Initial reports indicate the attacker was a member of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces and he was immediately killed by other Afghan forces.
Another U.S. service member was injured in the attack. The wounded service member was undergoing medical treatment and was in stable condition. The incident is under investigation.
Taylor is survived by his wife, Jennie, and seven children, according to the Tribune.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Taylor’s family. Late Saturday it had reached more than $19,000 toward a $250,000 goal.
Fox News’ Chris Irvine and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.