NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — A North Myrtle Beach police officer who died in a crash early Friday morning was by the book, intelligent and well-liked within the North Myrtle Beach Police Department, according to city officials.

“I told him I saw him as someone who was a rising star, so we’ve had a great loss here in our department,” Chief Thomas “Tommy” Dennis said Friday afternoon during a press conference.

Dennis said he was talking to Sgt. Gordon William Best only days ago about opportunities within the department. When it came time to do promotions in 2019, Dennis said Best was at the top of the list.

Sgt. Gordon William Best (Source: NMB Dept. Public Safety)

Best died in a crash 4 a.m. Friday on Highway 17 while responding to a call about shots fired at the Barefoot Resort. He lost control of his vehicle on the wet roads, veered into a northbound lane and collided with a utility pole, according to Patrick Dowling, the public information officer for the City of North Myrtle Beach.

“We ask all to pray for Sergeant Gordon Best and his family,” Dowling wrote in an emailed statement.

Best was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities were investigating a fatal crash early on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021 on Highway 17. (Source: Lauren Crawford)

It was the first time a North Myrtle Beach police officer had died while on duty, according to Mayor Marilyn Hatley. Hatley said she was devastated to hear the news.

She said officers know the dangers of the job and that she is proud of the city’s department.

“We have been fortunate over the years that this has not happened in our community, whatsoever, while they were on duty,” she said. “So it speaks volumes for the department, and today is just a tragic day, a very, very tragic day.”

The investigation into the report of shots fired is continuing.

Best was born on Nov. 12, 1990, according to Dowling. He joined the department in 2013, and was promoted to sergeant on Feb. 17, 2019.

He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Count on News13 for updates.