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Navy 'Hero' Died Helping First Responders

Joshua Kaleb Watson was only 23
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2019 4:00 PM CST

(Newser) – Among three victims in Friday's Navy air base shooting, a name has emerged—and he's being hailed as a hero, USA Today reports. "Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own," his brother, Adam Watson, posted Friday on Facebook. "After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled." His father, Benjamin Watson, confirmed the story and told the AP he's "just an emotional wreck. We want my son's story told." Benjamin said his son wanted to be a Navy pilot and reported to Naval Air Station Pensacola for flight training in November.

Deeply affected by the loss of his uncle, a former Marine who died in Operation Desert Storm, Joshua became a small-arms teacher, wrestling coach, and rifle-team captain at the Naval Academy, where his rifle team beat Army's after a decade of losses—which his father talks about with pride. Then came the shooting: "I was texted by one of the officers who said Kaleb had saved lives," said Benjamin, whose 23-year-old son later died at Baptist Hospital. Meanwhile, authorities have identified Kaleb's killer as a Saudi who was apparently active on social media, per CBS News. "O American people, I'm not against you for being American ... I hate you because every day you supporting, funding and committing crimes not only against Muslims but also humanity," reads a post linked to the suspect. (Read more mass shootings stories.)

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