PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Charles Moose, who was Portland’s first Black police chief and later known for his role in the DC sniper attacks, died Thursday at his home. He was 68.

The Montgomery County Police Department made the announcement on Facebook Friday morning. Police said Moose’s wife shared news of his passing.

In a statement shared on Twitter Friday, current Portland Police Bureau Chief Chuck Lovell called Moose “a champion of community policing.”

Moose served as Portland police chief from 1993 to 1999 before becoming the chief for Montgomery County in Maryland from 1999 to 2003. He gained national fame for his actions during 2002 DC sniper attacks.

“We are extremely saddened by the news announcing the passing of former Chief Charles Moose,” said Montgomery County’s Chief Marcus Jones. “He was a great leader and led our department through the DC Sniper investigation, one of the most difficult crime sprees in our country’s history. We send condolences to his wife Sandy and all of his family and friends.”

While working for the city, Moose also taught at Portland State University, where he received a doctorate in urban studies and criminology.

Former Hillsboro Police Chief Ron Louie says he and Moose were great colleagues and good friends.

“When you got to know him… he really understood policing. But he also understood politics and he realized some things that he wante]d to do in policing would be very difficult to do,” Louie said.

Portland Chief Lovell said he feels connected to former Chief Moose, as he was the first African American Portland chief and a champion of community policing.

He “led the Bureau during challenging times,” Lovell said. “Chief Moose was a large presence and had a servant’s heart.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler shared the following statement Friday after learning of Moose’s passing:

“Police Chief Charles Moose was a Portland icon. He became the first African-American Police Chief in the history of the Portland Police Bureau in 1993. He was well respected by the both the community he served and the officers he led. Thank you Chief Moose, for sharing your undeniable skill for leadership through difficult times. We should all hope to make the kind of difference that you did.”