Witnesses say two soldiers were only trying to protect a woman from her attacker when they were fatally shot at a South Carolina bar shortly before midnight on Saturday. Friends and family say they wouldn't have had it any other way. Charles Judge Jr. and Jonathon Prins intervened after seeing a man with a gun "kicking and hitting" a woman outside Chapin's Frayed Knot Bar & Grill, the owner tells the Army Times. Judge and Prins had "their hands up trying to talk to him" when they were shot "in cold blood," he adds. Judge, a father of two, was shot twice in the torso. Prins, a father of three, was shot three times in the torso and neck, reports the State. The shooter then fled the scene, leaving the woman uninjured, witnesses say. Joseph Mills, 25, was arrested Sunday and charged with two counts of murder.
But "knowing [Judge], if he knew what the outcome was going to be, he would have done the same thing," his brother-in-law says of the 40-year-old Iraq war veteran and engineering instructor with the SC National Guard. "He'd do it 100 times again," adds his supervisor. "He's a hero." Prins likewise "had the instinct to protect the weak instilled into him over the last 10 years of service," a colleague says of the 29-year-old drill sergeant at Fort Jackson, who'd been on two tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, per the Midlands Anchor. His death "is a testament to his bravery and his selfless service." In court on Monday, Mills said he was "very sorry about what happened," per NBC News. "I never meant for it to happen like that. I was being lynched by eight people because I was chasing a girl who grabbed drugs off the seat and took off running." (Read more South Carolina stories.)