NEW ORLEANS -- A New Orleans police officer was killed in the line of duty just after midnight Friday. The NOPD members lost a brother, the city lost an officer and Joseph Gilyot lost a nephew.

"(He was a) wonderful kid, always a pleasure to be with, happy go lucky guy who truly, truly loved his job as an officer," said Gilyot, Marcus McNeil's uncle.

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Gilyot says McNeil's wife isn't doing well and McNeil's two young daughters don't really understand what's going on.

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"That's the hard part, they're so young. Five and two, they'll never get to know him like I do," Joseph said. "I think that's what hurts the most. The fact that his kids have to grow up without him."

The 29-year-old police officer was shot and killed in New Orleans East while on a routine patrol. His entire family, like the New Orleans community, is mourning.

"I kept hoping this was a vivid nightmare, but unfortunately it is not a dream, it's real," Gilyot said. "It's real and my nephew's gone."

Flags are flown at half staff, a fire burns in front of NOPD headquarters and now another name will be added to a memorial in New Orleans for police who died in the line of duty.

"We're going to turn this city around, eventually. It can't keep going the way it's going. At some point, things are going to get better," Gilyot said. "We'll get through this somehow."

McNeil started working at the NOPD Seventh District in 2015. His family said he wanted to move up the ranks and make detective and eventually be a commander in the New Orleans Police Department.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.