TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Joshua Watson had just graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and looked forward to a military career as a pilot. On Saturday, he was being hailed a hero, as his family recounted how the 23-year-old — in his last minutes of life — led first responders to an active shooter at the Pensacola naval base.
In a Facebook post, his brother Adam said Watson saved countless lives 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," Adam Watson wrote on Facebook.
"He died a hero," he wrote.
The anguish spread from Pensacola and into communities across the country, as fellow Americans shared in the shock and grief of Friday's shooting that left four people dead, including the shooter, and eight others injured.
The Navy identified the other two victims as Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, Georgia.
The Navy praised all three flight school students for their “exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil."
"When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives," Capt. Tim Kinsella, the commanding officer of Naval Air Station Pensacola, said in a statement Saturday.