TORONTO -- The RCMP officer who was among the at least 17 people killed in a mass shooting in rural Nova Scotia is being remembered as someone who loved her family and her job.

Const. Heidi Stevenson was a 23-year veteran of the police force with two children and a husband at home, according to a statement from Nova Scotia RCMP Commanding Officer Lee Bergerman.

“Heidi answered the call of duty and lost her life while protecting those she served,” Bergerman said in the statement.

The commanding officer said she met with Stevenson’s family and says the RCMP will embrace and support them and the other families that lost their loved loves in the deadly shooting.

“Earlier this afternoon, I met with Heidi’s family and there are no words to describe their pain,” she said. “Two children have lost their mother and a husband his wife. Parents lost their daughter and countless others lost an incredible friend and colleague.”

RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki told CTV News Channel that Stevenson was also a media spokesperson for Nova Scotia’s RCMP, where she participated in radio and television interviews for several stories pertaining to police activity in the area.

“Anybody that knows her said she had just a great love of life and she was a hard worker and very dedicated to her chosen career,” Lucki said.

Lucki also expressed her condolences to all of Nova Scotia for what she described as a “senseless act of violence.”

“It’s a tragedy, my heart goes out to all the victims and their families not just our RCMP family,” she said. “Our RCMP family is part of the bigger community so all of Nova Scotia is grieving today.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair released a statement Sunday evening offering his support to the families that were affected by the shooting, particularly Stevenson’s husband and children.

“Cst. Stevenson will be remembered for her commitment to public service and her dedication to keeping the community safe,” he said in a statement.

Mark Furey, Nova Scotia’s justice minister and a former RCMP officer, shared his own experience of working in rural Nova Scotia and said Stevenson, like himself, was deeply connected to the region where you serve.

“You become a part of the community,” he said. “She was part of the community, children knew her, families knew her. She played an important part in the community.” 

“This is a tragic set of circumstances for Nova Scotians, particularly those who knew Const. Stevenson,” he added. “This is touching every community across our province.”