By Alex Rogers
April 4, 2014

Danny Ferguson, a Sgt. First Class recently returned from Afghanistan, sacrificed his life Wednesday to keep the shooter out of a crowded room of military personnel, according to his fiancée and fellow soldier Kristen Haley.

Haley, who was reportedly near the shooting when it happened, said that when Army Specialist Ivan Lopez opened fire, Ferguson held a door shut with his body to bar the shooter’s way.

“He held that door shut because it wouldn’t lock. It seems the doors would be bullet proof, but apparently they’re not,” Haley explained to a Tampa Bay CBS affiliate. “If he wasn’t the one standing there holding those doors closed, that shooter would have been able to get through and shoot everyone else.”

Lopez killed three soldiers—Sgt. Timothy Owens, Sgt. Carlos Alberto Lazaney Rodriguez, and Ferguson—and wounded sixteen others before turning the gun on himself. Officials said that Lopez, 34, had no record of bad behavior but had been suffering from depression following a four-month tour in Iraq three years ago.

“I know that he did have a pleasure of serving. This was his life,” said Haley, who was reportedly nearby the shooting when it happened. “He was proud to be part of a great service.”

Contact us at editors@time.com.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

Read More From TIME

EDIT POST