TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For years, Eddie Garcia worked in the Broward County School district. When he saw the tragedy unfolding in Parkland, he started texting his friends who worked there.

One of the first people he reached out to was Chris Hixon, but Hixon never replied.  He had been killed.

“First, he was a great father,” Garcia recalled.

Chris Hixon was the athletic director at Stoneman Douglas High School. He and Garcia worked together at South Broward High from 2006 to 2012.

“When you have a great husband and a great father, he is a great man. Humble. Everything was for his family. At the school environment, everything was for the students,” Garcia said.

Garcia, now a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and ROTC instructor in Hillsborough County public schools, has been praying for Hixon’s family.

The athletic director leaves behind a wife and two children. His son is a marine who is stationed overseas.

“I’m a friend of the family, and I’m mourning like it’s one of my family,” said Garcia.

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