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A Kentucky teenager sacrificed his life last week while on a family trip to Florida when he leaped in front of multiple bullets fired by a stranger on the beach to protect his stepbrother.
Lucas Salmon, 14, and his stepbrother of the same age, who has not been publicly identified, were on a family vacation art a Panama City resort with their parents when the trip turned deadly.
The teens’ parents, Amy and Shawn Salmon, told Kentucky news outlet WLKY that the stepbrothers were sitting on beach chairs near their hotel on March 23 when they came across 37-year-old Christopher Cox.
Lucas accidentally mistook Cox’s bag for one that belonged to his family, his mother told the outlet.
"Lucas went to pick up their bag and grabbed that man's bag," she said.
An arrest affidavit obtained by the Courier-Journal stated that Cox allegedly told police that he "felt as though they were trying to steal from him."
Cox allegedly shot at the two boys, but Lucas jumped in front of the gunfire to protect his stepbrother, his mother said. Lucas was shot multiple times in the upper torso, the Panama City Police Department said in a press release. The teen died at the scene. His stepbrother was also shot multiple times, both in the arm and the leg, but was able to get himself into the hotel lobby to seek help. He was treated at a nearby hospital and has since been released.
"He jumped in front of our other son to protect him, to try and give him the opportunity to get away to go get help because he had already been shot," Amy told WLKY.
When police arrived on the scene, Cox allegedly fled; he was subsequently arrested without incident.
Cox faces charges of one open count of murder and one count of attempted murder. He is being held without bail. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer; he is scheduled to be arraigned on April 26.
Meanwhile, Lucas is being remembered for his heroic act.
"He is a protector in every aspect, he's the big brother; he's the protector of everyone," Amy Salmon told WLKY.
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