Family: 7-Eleven shooting victim was a hero in his final moments

Family: 7-Eleven shooting victim was a hero in his final moments
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -- A local man is being credited with saving children's lives just moments before he was shot to death.

Family members say the 32-year-old man was with four others - another man and three kids - outside a 7-Eleven store in the 31200 block of First Avenue South around 4:30 a.m. Sunday when he saw three men drive up and sensed danger.

The man quickly shooed the children inside. He then got into a verbal argument with the three men, one of whom opened fire and shot the man in the neck.

The victim's family members say the three men flashed gang signs at the scene of the crime.

The victim has a criminal past, having served time for attempted rape and robbery. But family members say he paid his dues, and had no associations with any gangs.

Despite his past, family members said the father was a hero in his final moments with his focus on protecting his teenage daughter, his daughter's friend and his 5-year-old niece.

Police said there is no indication that the three young ones saw the shooting.

"They heard they yelling and they heard what happened and then, of course, they probably ran outside," said police spokesperson Cathy Schrock.

Police have recovered the suspected gunman's car abandoned just a few miles from the shooting scene. However, they have not found the three men or a motive.

KOMO News has chosen not to name the victim as the medical examiner has not yet made a positive identification.