The wife of one of the victim's in the Florida school shooting recently told reporters that she is "beyond proud" of his sacrifice.
During the hail of gunfire on Wednesday, athletic director Chris Hixon ran directly into the maw in order to try and save students from being harmed. He was ultimately struck by bullets and passed away the following day.
"I am torn. I am p—ed off he did that because he left us, but knowing my husband, that's just who he was. I knew he would be right there in the middle of what was going on as soon as I heard the shooting was happening. That was just who he was," his wife, Debbie Hixon, told PEOPLE.
"I'm beyond proud that he didn't even think of himself in that moment — he just thought of the safety of everyone else," Debbie added. "We love him for doing that. He loved athletics and loved being part of that whole school system. He loved to be supportive for those kids."
Speaking about the type of man that Chris was, Debbie told the outlet, "He was adventurous; we had some very exciting adventures. He was the kind of person who was always up for trying anything, even if it was outside his comfort zone. He was a military man who loved serving his country. He was active duty and served in the Persian Gulf, but then switched to the reserves after we had kids. He wanted to be a part of his family."
She also spoke candidly about the shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and how she believes the entire situation is indicative of society failing on multiple fronts.
"I don't have any sympathy for the guy who did this, and I don't know that I can ever forgive him," Debbie said. "But our system failed that kid — that's why he got to where he is. It failed him. We don't do things right for people who need help and we need to fix that."
"If someone had taken time early on in that kid's life, he would have had the coping skills so he would not have thought that this was an option," Debbie concluded. "He kept getting in trouble and they sent him to an alternative center, where they don't necessarily provided the kind of services he needed. He needed someone to love him early on and he never got that. No one that is loved and has coping skills would every think this is an option for what was bothering them."
Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder, one for each of the students and adults he shot to death Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.