Joseph Wilcox went to Walmart Sunday morning to return an Internet modem.
Instead, he became the third victim of a violent husband-and-wife shooting spree in Las Vegas that left two police officers dead, as well as the shooters.
Police on Monday described Wilcox, 31, as "heroic" for trying to confront the shooters with his concealed handgun as they entered the store. But his family described him as a quiet man who wanted to be a police officer and didn't always carry a gun.
"It hasn't set in yet," Wilcox's mother, Debra Wilcox, told KTNV-TV in Las Vegas. "I just know he's not coming home. I keep looking for him to walk in that door. But he's not ever going to do that again."
Wilcox had bought several modems to try to fix an internet problem at his family's home and was returning one of those modems Sunday, family members told KTNV-TV.
Across the parking lot from the Walmart, Jerad and Amanda Miller shot and killed two Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officers inside a pizzeria at about 11:22 a.m. Sunday, Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill said at a press conference.
The couple then walked across the parking lot and into the Walmart. Jerad Miller fired one shot into the air and ordered everyone to leave, warning "this is a revolution" and police were on their way, McMahill said.
Wilcox, near a checkout counter, told a friend he was going to confront the shooter, he said.
"He was carrying a concealed weapon and he immediately and heroically moved toward the position of Jerad Miller," McMahill said.
But Wilcox didn't notice Amanda Miller pushing a shopping cart nearby. She pulled out her own handgun and shot Wilcox once in the ribs, killing him, he said. "He immediately collapsed," McMahill said.
Wilcox was between jobs at the time of the shooting and was looking for work as a web designer, his uncle, John Wilson, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He had applied to the Metropolitan Police Department several years ago but didn't make it, he said.
"He heard the threat to everyone and he was trying to stop it," Wilson told the Review-Journal. "He wasn't trying to be a hero. He was trying to do what he thought should be done."
Family members said they were struggling to raise money to pay for Wilcox's funeral. On Monday, Twitter threads buzzed with plans of benefits and fundraisers to try to help them.