SPOKANE, Wash -

KXLY sources report a veteran Liberty Lake police officer apparently took his own life in an SUV early Friday morning in northwest Spokane.

Spokane Police Major Crimes detectives are investigating the death of Sergeant Clint Gibson, who was off-duty at the time of his death.

Gibson's body was discovered by Spokane Police inside his personal vehicle, which was found in a parking lot near the intersection of Francis and Madison in northwest Spokane around 1:45 Friday morning.

The investigation indicates Gibson took his own life with a firearm and either before or after that shot was fired his SUV crashed into some trees and other objects in the vicinity. The Spokane County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy to confirm his cause of death.

It didn't take very long for officers to realize who and what they were dealing with and then Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus got the phone call he hoped he would never have to answer. Gibson's death has left Liberty Lake and the law enforcement community stunned.

"I got the call from dispatch about the accident about two o'clock this morning. Myself, one of our other officers, our police chaplain met here, we went to be with the officer's family," Asmus said.

Gibson had worked for Asmus since 2002 and was one of the first officers hired by the newly formed Liberty Lake Police Department. During his 13 year career in Liberty Lake Gibson impressed a lot of people in this community.

"He was a trusted man, a standup guy who we looked up to. He was awarded numerous awards both from this department and other places," Pamela Mogan, director of library services, said.

Friday afternoon Chief Asmus, flanked by Liberty Lake's mayor and Gibson's colleagues, wanted the community to know about his impact on Liberty Lake's quality of life and the quality of its officers.

"He was responsible for making sure all of our officers are trained to the highest level and prepared to do their job to the best of their ability. We are a very professional police organization and that is because of Sergeant Gibson and what he brought to this agency," Asmus said.

Asmus would Gibson in charge of the police department whenever he was out of town and was being groomed to become Liberty Lake's new police chief in the future. His death leaves behind a very big hole in the department that will be difficult to fill.