A young man who volunteered to fight with Kurdish forces against the ISIS terrorist group shot himself in the head to avoid falling hostage to them, a recent inquest heard.
Ryan Lock, a 20-year-old from Chichester, England, died a heroic death last December fighting with the People’s Defense Units (YPG) in Raqqa, the BBC reports. He was helping forces recapture the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
A coroner said Lock was hopelessly surrounded by enemy troops and badly wounded his leg during a battle in Syria and after realizing he was about to be captured, shot himself, the inquest in Portsmouth heard.
Coroner David Horsley described Lock as a heroic young man.
“He died doing something he quite clearly believed passionately in,” Horsely said, adding that the leg wound left him at risk of falling into the hands of a “cruel and ruthless enemy.”
Lock, a former chef with no previous military experience joined the Kurdish militia after telling his family he was going on holiday to Turkey last year in August, according to The Sun.
Before he died, Lock kept in touch with his family by sending them pictures and updates by Facebook Messenger on the military training he was receiving.
However the parents lost contact with him last year and in December, Lock’s father Jon Plater found images of his son online with an ISIS fighter standing over his body. The death was later confirmed, The Sun reports.
Ryan’s cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the head, said pathologist Dr. Basil Purdue.
Lock’s mother, Catherine said that before he left home he did mention sometimes about the terrible situation in Syria, but “it wasn’t something he would constantly comment on,” according to the BBC.
When Lock told her he was on the way to fight with the YPG as a chef with hopes to train as a medic, Catherine said she “absolutely panicked.”
Catherine tried not to say anything negative, for fear of losing contact and told him to stay safe.
“I’m proud of you, but for God’s sake come home safely,” she said.