OXNARD (CBSLA) — Grief counselors were on hand Thursday at Heuneme High School after a beloved school resource officer was killed in a motorcycle crash.

Officer Nathan Martin died Wednesday afternoon in a crash. He was on his way home from work. (Oxnard Police Department)

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Students gathered around the spot where Officer Nathan Martin used to park, laying flowers, sharing hugs and trying to console one another.

“Today is just going to be a day of grieving here at Heuneme,” Dr. Tom McCoy, assistant superintendent, said. “This is a tough situation. For some of them, this will be their first experience have to go through something like this, and we want to help guide them through it.”

Administrators and staff might have put their focus on the students the morning after Martin’s unexpected death, but the loss was also hard on them. He had spent 12 of his 20 years on the force as a school resource officer, and had become part of the Heuneme family.

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“He had certain kids under his wing, some of our kids that have some of the toughest situations,” McCoy said. “He was there, side-by-side with them.”

Investigators said the 45-year-old officer had finished work Wednesday night and was riding home on his motorcycle when he collided with a tractor-trailer turning in front of him. Some of the first officers responding to the crash ended up being Martin’s close friends.

“There’s no way to prepare for something like this,” Chief Scott Whitney said. “There’s no words that I can say that’s going to make anything better or make it go away, but being present adds a lot of value.”

Martin leaves behind his wife, three children and a brother who is also a member of the Oxnard Police Department.

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The police department said it would be coordinating with the family on memorial services.