On January 12th, Thomas Yoxall was heading down Interstate 10 with his fiancée en route to California when they came across a state patrol car with its emergency lights on and flares surrounding an accident.  As they slowed down, another thing soon came into view: a man pounding a downed state trooper’s head into the pavement.

“I had to help. I knew I had to help,” Yoxall told reporters in his first interview since the incident earlier this month. Yoxall, a gun enthusiast with a permit to carry a concealed weapon, drew his pistol and commanded the attacker to stop. When he didn’t, Yoxall fired twice, striking the assailant and sending him to the ground. But as Yoxall rushed to the aid of the downed officer, the attacker sprung at them again. This time, Yoxall shot him in the head, killing the man instantly.

“I did save somebody’s life that morning, but I had to take somebody else’s life in the process and that’s difficult to reconcile,” Yoxall said through tears in his eyes. The man has since sought counseling from his pastor due to the emotional fallout of the incident, but says he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

“This is something that I will live with, but I wouldn’t change it, because another man got to go home to his family and his family gets to keep him a little while longer and that’s the important part.”