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The St. Paul Police Department laid to rest one of its own over the weekend after the "unexpected" death of Officer Mark Distel.

Distel died Monday, Jan. 3 at his home in New Hope, the department announced, noting that Distel leaves behind a wife and daughter along with many other family members and friends, including "an entire police department full of people who consider themselves fortunate to have been able to work alongside him."

"It's a heartbreaking loss for all of us," wrote Chief of Police Todd Axtell. "Mark joined the SPPD in 2000 and quickly became more than just a police officer—he was an admired and respected member of our community, a trusted partner on every call and a beloved member of our SPPD family. His personnel jacket is filled with commendations and letters of admiration and thanks from people he met and helped and showed warmth throughout his career. In simple terms, Mark was a great guy, even-keeled with an awesome sense of humor."

Distel's obituary describes him as being well known for his quick wit and "quirky sense of humor," while saying he "had a special way of changing the energy of any room he was in." 

The 45-year-old worked in the Western District for SPPD and was known to work off-duty at Minnesota Wild games and other events. His obituary notes that he loved working backstage for WWE events. 

Distel's cause of death has not been announced. 

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