Burnsville Police Chief Tanya Schwartz described the three members of Burnsville's public safety team who were fatally shot Sunday morning as heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"They come to work every day," Schwartz said. "They know they may have to give up their life for their partners, for someone else."

Officer Paul Elmstrand, 27, joined the department since 2017, according to the city. He was promoted from community service officer to officer in 2019, and served with the department's mobile command staff, peer team, Honor Guard and field training unit.

Matthew Ruge, also 27, joined the department in 2020 and was on its crisis negotiations team and worked as a physical evidence officer.

Burnsville firefighter and paramedic Adam Finseth, 40, formerly served in the Army's Bravo Company 1st battalion 327th Infantry during Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to his LinkedIn page. He was hired in Burnsville in 2019 and previously worked for the cities of Savage and Hastings. The three were fatally shot on the 12600 block of 33rd Avenue in Burnsville about 5:30 a.m. The suspect is also dead after a standoff that took place in the home, where seven children also were present.

To Savage Fire Chief Jeremie Bresnahan, Finseth "embodied the true spirit of a firefighter," showing others respect, empathy and compassion, the chief wrote in an email Sunday to city staff and shared with the Star Tribune. Finseth worked as a paid on-call firefighter for Savage for more than six years.

"His legacy is etched in the memories of those who served alongside him and characterized by his calm demeanor and unwavering support for his fellow team members," Bresnahan wrote. "Adam's impact on our department and community will be remembered, and his selfless service inspires us all."

Sgt. Adam Medlicott was taken to a hospital with injuries and is expected to survive, according to the city.

"This is the toughest day that the city of Burnsville and our public safety family has ever experienced. My heart and prayers go out to the families who lost a loved one in the line of duty today," Burnsville Fire Chief BJ Jungmann said at the news conference.

Gov. Tim Walz ordered that flags be flown at half staff starting Monday to honor the victims.

Walz, who was at the news conference, asked Minnesotans to pause and reflect on the families who will be forever affected by Sunday's events when they see flags half staff.

"They're moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters," Walz said of first responders. "They're the world to a lot of people, and they go out and do the job to provide us safety."

In a statement, Edward Kelly, the general president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said Sunday's tragedy in Minnesota and others this week — including an exploded truck that injured nearly a dozen firefighters in Los Angeles — are a reminder that there are no routine calls for first responders.

"No matter who needs help or why, we are coming," Kelly said. "My thoughts and prayers are with those who died, those recovering, and the brave men and women who are responding to a cry for help right now — whatever that call may be."