MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The wife of a Good Samaritan is sharing her late husband’s devotion to his neighbors.

A gunman shot Javier Sanmiguel in September after he raced outside to help a car crash victim. The St. Paul businessman is survived by his four young children and wife, Kayla.

As her new reality sinks in, she told WCCO’s Reg Chapman how faith kept her husband from ever fearing death.

“We were so happy, it was such a good life,” Kayla said.

For eight years, Kayla had the love of her life by her side.

“It’s so freeing to be loved that well. He loved me and the kids so well,” she said.

Kayla and Javier Sanmiguel (credit: CBS)

Javier loved his family, his faith and his community, and lived his life in a way that honored it all.

“Every encounter with every human being is significant. He just lived that way, and he displayed that for our children, both through how he parented them, but also … they watched him live his life,” she said.

Javier was the proud father to 6-year-old Javier, 4-year-old Emilia, 3-year-old Isabel and 1-year-old Petra.

“But then the downside to their ages, that for them to know him and to remember him, I have to help them, and I definitely will,” she said.

Kayla wants her children to know about their dad’s sense of humor, and selflessness the night he died.

“It was such a loud crash that we knew it was something different than a normal accident,” Kayla said.

Stepping outside, Javier was first to check to see if everyone was OK.

“A neighbor said, ‘I see him in the back, I think he’s injured’ … and he just marched right back there and leaned down to open it, and of course that was what he did,” Kayla said.

Kayla Sanmiguel (credit: CBS)

She’s grateful that her children will only have memories of how their father lived.

“The blessing is that they don’t have a traumatic memory of that night. They slept through it. I don’t know how, it was a miracle,” Kayla said.

Javier’s greatest pride was having a happy and thriving family — one that continues thanks to friends and strangers who are wrapping them in care.

The family of suspected killer Lionel Eaton says he was paranoid before the shooting. Eaton’s attorney says he feared for his safety. The case is back in court next month.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Sanmiguel family.

Reg Chapman

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