Two soldiers were killed on July 24 at a South Carolina bar while trying to help a woman who was being attacked.
Staff Sgt. Charles Allen Judge Jr., 40, and Sergeant 1st Class Jonathan Michael Prins, 29, were shot and killed outside the Frayed Knot Bar & Grill in Lake Murray, S.C., early Sunday, according to the Army Times.
The suspect was identified as 25-year-old Joseph Elijah Mills.
In an account by Justin Brooks, the owner of Frayed Knot, Mills was kicking and hitting the victim on the ground when a group of people intervened to get Mills off the woman. Mills then opened fire, after which the majority of people fled the scene.
Judge and Prins had stayed behind to try to resolve the situation.
“When [Judge and Prins] get in within two feet of him—they both have their hands up trying to talk to him—and he just shoots them in cold blood,” Brooks said. “And then just walks off like nothing happened. Walked off like he was shopping at Walmart, right down the aisle. Put a shirt over his head so people couldn’t see him and just walked right off.”
Brooks added that both men were “definitely heroes.”
Lexington County police said in a statement that Mills was arrested Sunday afternoon without incident and is being charged with two counts of murder.
Judge Jr. was identified as an engineer with the South Carolina National Guard, while Prins was a drill instructor at Fort Jackson.
One of Judge’s friends, Jon Adams, told WIS that the two men would have done the same thing if given another chance.
“I think if both of those gentlemen, Chuck and Jonathan, if they would’ve known what the outcome was going to be before they did what they did they still would’ve done it,” Adams says.