Brother of good Samaritan killed: Theft suspect tried to steal car with woman, child inside

Man relives moments when brother was shot, killed by car theft suspect

SAN ANTONIO – The family of a man who was shot and killed while trying to stop a suspected car thief is sharing the life of their loved one, who was known for being genuinely nice.

Jonathan Connelly, 30, was running an errand less than a mile away from his home when he decided to pursue a suspect in a stolen vehicle.

The suspect was identified by the San Antonio Police Department as 23-year-old Jacob Gabriel.

RELATED: Good Samaritan killed in confrontation with car theft suspect is identified

Christopher Jackson says he's not surprised by his brother's actions because he was known for doing the right thing.

"He always had a good heart; of course, his heart got him in some trouble," Jackson said.

Connelly was one of 13 siblings and had a rough background but was just starting to make strides to get his life in order.

RELATED: Good Samaritan shot to death while chasing down car theft suspect, police say

"These last couple of months he's been here, he started to find himself, he was really happy with who he was," Jackson said.

Connelly's family and his recovery support team were all part of helping him stay sober.

((WATCH: Friend shares song made for Jonathan Connelly))

Roy Rhynes was with his brother when he was shot. Rhynes said he saw his brother pursue Gabriel and was behind him while on the phone with police.

"It's in his nature to want to do the right thing," Rhynes said.

"He tried to talk the man down from killing himself. The man had the gun to his own head and my brother asked him to put the gun down," he said.

In a nearby surveillance video, Connelly and Rhynes can be seen wrestling with Gabriel. When they are off camera view, Rhynes said they were on their way to their vehicle when a life-changing decision was made.

RELATED: Video shows moments before police say good Samaritan was killed by car theft suspect

"(Connelly) noticed the man was going to steal another vehicle with a woman and child in it. That's when he acted and sacrificed his life so the woman and child could have theirs," Rhynes said.

Gabriel has been charged with murder and other crimes. Rhynes says because of his own troubled past, he understands and forgives Gabriel, but he still wants justice.

The family is currently fundraising for Connelly's funeral. 

About the Author: