'He died a hero': Sailor killed in deadly Pensacola shooting credited with saving lives

Joshua Kaleb Watson was able to tell first responders where the shooter was before he died, his family said.


A sailor from Alabama who was among three killed in a shooting Friday at the Naval Air Station Pensacola is being called a hero.

A student opened fire in a classroom Friday morning, killing three people, including Joshua Kaleb Watson, before a sheriff's deputy fatally shot the shooter. Eight others were injured.

Family members said 23-year-old Watson was struck several times but was able to make it outside before he died so that he could tell first responders the shooter's location, potentially saving lives.

"He died a hero," said Adam Watson, Joshua Watson's brother, in a Facebook post. "We are beyond proud, but there is a (hole) in our hearts that can never be filled."

Joshua Watson's father told the Pensacola News Journal that his son was a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and dreamed of becoming a Navy pilot.

Joshua Watson graduated from Enterprise High School in Alabama. The school posted a tribute to him on its Facebook page.

"Josh was an incredible young man with an incredibly bright future," school officials said in the post.

Enterprise Mayor Bill Cooper also issued a statement following the young man's tragic death.

"I do not know details of the attack at this time, but we know that Joshua was a hero serving his country at the time of his death," he said. "I am proud of him for his service and dedication to his country."