U.S. Naval Academy graduate Joshua Kaleb Watson saved many lives after he was shot five times during the mass shooting Friday at Pensacola Air Station in Florida.
“Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable,” his brother, Adam Watson, wrote on Facebook, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
“He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled,” he stated.
The attack occurred Friday morning when a gunman, identified as Saudi aviation student Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, opened fire inside a classroom at the station and killed three people, according to Breitbart News.
Officials detained six Saudi nationals after the incident occurred, three of whom reportedly filmed the attack as it was happening.
The shooting ended when a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed Alshamrani.
Watson’s father, Benjamin, said his 23-year-old son was the officer on deck when the shooting began.
“Heavily wounded, he made his way out to flag down first responders and gave an accurate description of the shooter,” he said, adding that “He died serving his country.”
Since he was 5-years-old, the young man had dreamed of becoming a Navy pilot and just recently reported to Pensacola for flight training the week of Veterans Day.
“I’m just an emotional wreck,” Benjamin told reporters, adding “We want my son’s story told.”
The Watson family said their beloved son and youngest brother was a natural-born leader who always put others before himself.
“His mission was to confront evil. To bring the fight to them, wherever it took him. He was willing to risk his life for his country. We never thought he would die in Florida,” his father said.