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BROOKLYN, Conn. – Patrick Dragon, a deputy fire chief and retired state trooper in Connecticut who was one of the first responders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, died Saturday night from the coronavirus, his family said. He was 50.

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“He was the bravest person I know,” Michele Hearn, Dragon’s sister, told WVIT. “He was larger than life.”

In a statement on behalf of the family, Hearn said relatives are “heartbroken beyond words” after Dragon’s death.

“We are grateful for the blessing to have been able to gather together as a family to give him our love and support,” Hearn stated. “We love you, Patrick and will hold you close in our hearts every hour of every day.”

According to his family, Dragon tested positive for the coronavirus around Dec. 12, WVIT reported. He quarantined for the allotted time and then returned to work, the television station reported.

However, family members said Dragon’s condition deteriorated and he checked into an area hospital.

Jason Dragon, said that his brother was put on a ventilator and heart-lung bypass, WVIT reported. Patrick Dragon stayed in the hospital for six days until he died, the television station reported.

Jason Dragon said his parents, who were recovering from COVID-19, were able to visit Patrick Dragon. His siblings said their goodbyes in a video call, according to WVIT.

A spokesperson for the Connecticut State Police said Patrick Dragon served at Troop D in Danielson before retiring on Feb. 1, 2018, the Connecticut Post reported. Most recently, Dragon was deputy chief of the East Brooklyn Fire Department, the newspaper reported. In a statement, the department said Dragon was a dedicated member for 34 years who worked his way up the ranks.

Dragon was among the first to respond to the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012. Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old, and six adult staff members. Lanza also fatally shot himself.

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