Ke’Arre Stewart was fatally shot by the gunman after stepping outside the Colorado Springs clinic. His brother, Leyonte Chandler, told NBC News that Stewart’s final act was heroic.
“He ran back inside, trying to help out others,” Chandler said of his 29-year-old brother. “I don’t know where he was at, as far as how many more breaths he had, but he knew. And before his time ran out I guess that was his main priority … to help and save other lives.”
The five-hour-long active shooting left three dead, including Stewart, who was at the clinic with his pregnant girlfriend, and nine injured. The alleged gunman has been identified as 57-year-old Robert Dear.
Chandler told NBC that his brother, a father of two, left the clinic because he was unable to get cellphone service in the building, noting that Stewart’s “military instinct” prompted his final act.
“He tried to run back inside the building – well, he did – and tell the other people inside, you know, ‘Take cover, get down,’ ” he said, ‘”People started taking cover hiding in bathrooms and whatnot.”
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Chandler added that his brother is “definitely” a hero.
“People were terrified, people were crying and scared, seeing other people get shot … I believe my brother put his life on the line to prevent that,” he said. “That’s definitely heroic.”
Stewart grew up in Texas and was transferred to an Army base in Colorado in 2013, the New York Times reports. Chandler told the Times that he looked up to his brother and “wanted to be around him all the time.”
Chandler told NBC that although the gunman took his only brother – a father of two daughters aged 11 and 7 – his stance is one of forgiveness.
“I don’t have resentment or anything – I forgive him,” Chandler said of the gunman. “It’s a hard pill to swallow … That’s the only brother that I had, that I grew up with. He took that away from me and it’s hard but I forgive him. Jesus forgave me, so I have to forgive him.”