Former navy sailor, Richard Shomette, was trying to be a good Samaritan when he stopped to help a family whose car had broken down in Newport News, Va. A few minutes later, he became a hero, after he shielded the family from being hit by an oncoming van.

Shomette, 22, came across the disabled car around 8 p.m., according to Newport News police, while walking home from work. The stranded passengers, two sisters and their three children, were heading across the Bland Boulevard overpass when they got a flat tire.

Shomette, a former Navy corpsman, was standing beside the car with the two sisters, when a passing van struck them and the broken down car. Shomette was rushed to the emergency room, where he was pronounced dead just before 8:45 p.m.

"I wish I could've met him. To me he's a hero because he really helped my girls out. From what my daughter was telling me how things went, he pretty much pushed her out the way from what she was telling me," survivor Valerie Robinson told WVEC. "I'm sorry that things happened the way it did. He's a hero to me. I'm going to always think about him."

The two women were also taken to the hospital for injuries, but the children were unharmed. The driver of the van, a woman with two children, was not hurt. Newport News police are reconstructing the crime scene to assess whether charges should be made.

“He gave his life for somebody else,” Judy Dunn, Shomette’s maternal grandmother, told WTKR. “We’re really proud of him.” According to Dunn, Shomette had been adopted when he was five and bounced around foster homes until he ended up without a home at 19. His grandmother found him on Facebook and brought him to her home, before he joined the Navy.

Shomette's family plans to hold a memorial service for him in Yorktown, where he lived.