A 14-year-old Kentucky teen was fatally shot as he shielded his stepbrother from gunshots, his family says.

Lucas Salmon and his 14-year-old stepbrother were on a family vacation with their parents at a Panama City Beach resort in Florida when the March 23 shooting occurred in the early afternoon.

The two teens were sitting on beach chairs at the resort when they encountered 37-year-old Christopher Cox.

Lucas's mom Amy Salmon told WLKY that Lucas accidentally picked up Cox's bag, thinking it belonged to the family.

"Lucas went to pick up their bag and grabbed that man's bag," she told the news outlet.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Courier Journal, Cox told police that one of the teens picked up his bag and he "felt as though they were trying to steal from him."

He said he "unloaded" on the teens after he grabbed his bag back and grabbed the gun from inside the bag, the affidavit alleges.

"When asked what would've happened if the victim did steal his bag, he stated he would've lost his firearm which he stated he was not willing to do," states the affidavit.

Amy said her son Lucas was shot first — and then protected his stepbrother from additional shots Cox allegedly fired.

"[Lucas] jumped in front of our other son to protect him, to try and give him the opportunity to get away to go get help because he had already been shot," Amy said.

Lucas sustained gunshot wounds to his upper body and his stepbrother sustained gunshot wounds to his, but the stepbrother was able to get away.

He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released.

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Cox, who was seen fleeing the area, was later arrested on charges of one open count of murder and one count of attempted murder. 

"It's a nightmare that you can't wake up from," said Amy about the death of her son. "He is a protector in every aspect, he's the big brother; he's the protector of everyone." 

Cox, who is being held without bail, is scheduled to be arraigned on April 26. It was not immediately clear if he has an attorney to comment on his behalf.


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