Randall Smith's mother said Sunday her son "died doing what he loved" after he was killed during a shooting spree at two military centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
"My son is a hero. He died doing what he loved. he would have had it no other way," Paula Proxmire, the mother of the navy petty officer, from Kansas, told NBC News. "He's been my hero since the day I gave birth to him."
Proxmire left an American flag and baseball mitt at a memorial growing near one of the sites on Thursday's shooting that left five servicemen and the gunman dead.
Smith, 26, died early Saturday after being injured doing the shootings. He was married and had three young daughters.