Armando, who went by the nickname A.J., was only six.
His grandfather, Bobby Kidd, said A.J., his brother and their father were on their way to their home in Beauregard when they were alerted to the tornado warning. Once home, the father took cover with the two boys in a closet as the tornado hit their area.
"He said the house just exploded and he said both the boys were just sucked completely out of his arms," Kidd told NBC News of his stepson, who is the boys' father. "Time and time again, he said, 'I held on as tight as I could,' and when he came to, he couldn't really see anything."
The father, Steven, and his son Jordan, 10, survived and were hospitalized. They are expected to be released soon. A counselor and minister at the hospital helped the family tell Jordan about A.J.'s death, Kidd said.
A.J. was a wonderful kid who "loved everybody," Kidd said.
"He loved to play basketball, go outside. He was always the smallest kid, but he was right in the middle of all of them," he said.
The family is receiving condolences from people around the country as well as in their community, he said.
"A.J.’s passing is a tragedy, but it has brought us closer to the ones who survived," Kidd said.
A.J.'s mother, Kayla Melton, declined to speak to NBC News, but she shared photos of her son, including one captioned: "Heaven got the sweetest little boy."
"I love you, A.J., thanks for making me smile when I was with you," she wrote.
The officer, Sgt. Robert Burroughs, was at home with his wife when the twister swept through the area, destroying the house, the station reported, citing the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
Burroughs was being treated in the intensive care unit at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, according to the station.
“Troopers have a strong sense of camaraderie and will surround the Burroughs family at this time and offer support both short and long term,” state police spokesman Cpl. Jess Thornton said, WFSA reported.
Mary Louise, 89, Jimmy Lee. 89, and their son Emmanuel, 53, were killed after their home was sheared down to its foundation, The Associated Press reported.
The couple’s daughter Jackie Jones, said she called her parents after seeing television reports of tornadoes passing close to the Beauregard house where her parents and two brothers lived. But she didn’t get an answer.
"The phone just rang and rang and rang,” she told the AP.
Mary Louise and Jimmy Lee were married more than 60 years and had worked on a farm when they were younger, their daughter said.
Emmanuel, a University of Alabama fan, enjoyed watching sports and did yard work for the family’s neighbors.
Another brother also living at the home, Benjamin Jones, 56, survived.
Jackie Jones told the AP she hoped to find her mother's photo albums amid the wreckage, because she does not have any pictures of her parents or brother.
This list will be updated.
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.
Doha Madani is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.
Jareen Imam, Jareen Imam and Caitlin Fichtel contributed.