Good Samaritan remembered one year after tragic death

November 13, 2011 8:08:27 PM PST
A man came to the rescue of a stranger and lost his life. On Sunday -- one year since his murder -- the woman he saved and his family gathered to remember him.

It was November 13, 2010. Someone was pointing a gun at Amberly Wait and trying to rob her when Samuel Irick intervened.

He was then shot and killed.

Wait never spoke publicly about the shooting or the man who saved her -- until Sunday.

"This is the first time I've actually spoken other than my immediate family and friends about it. But I think about it every day," she said. "I have a picture of Sam on my vanity. I see him every day. I think about him every day."

It's hard to imagine loving someone instantly, but that's exactly how Wait feels about 24-year-old community college student who gave his life protecting her.

"He means a lot to us, even though we didn't know him," Wait said. "There he was. For me. He was willing to help."

Last November, the mother of three stopped at a gas station in southwest Houston for a Diet Coke. At the door, a man with a gun approached her.

"All of a sudden, he ended up on top of me, like on top of me. And I thought he'd stumbled or fallen. And he was asking me for my purse. And I didn't realize what was happening. I think Sam probably realized what was happening," Wait said.

Irick, who was pumping gas nearby, instinctively stepped between the two to protect Wait. The gunman shot and killed the Good Samaritan, and then took off.

One year after the tragedy, the story isn't any more bearable for Irick's friends and family.

"It doesn't get any easier accepting the fact that he's no longer with us," friend Kelly Sarvis said.

"He was standing up for somebody else and this guy just shot him," friend Thomas Spear said.

"We're still getting used to the fact that he's not here," cousin Angela Irick said.

Together, they marked the anniversary of Irick's death with an outdoor memorial service on Sunday.

For those closest to Irick, it was the perfect setting to celebrate his life. He loved golfing, fishing and being outdoors.

Attendees tied notes to balloons and released them into the sky.

The balloons were purchased at the service for $3 each. Proceeds will go to Crime Stoppers, the organization that helped track down the suspected gunman in this case -- Anthony Ray Ferrell. He is charged with capital murder and is scheduled to appear in court December 8.

"Sam saved my life. And he saved their mom," Wait said. "I think too often there are people who won't step in at all. And he just... there he was. He was my angel, there to help me."

Wait's message is one of love from a woman he never knew to a man she will never forget.

"I'm happy that I'm here. It's an understatement to say I'm happy that I'm here," Wait said. "I wish he could be here, but he's not."

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