52 year old Mark Wilson was laid to rest this morning at the Lloyd James Funeral Home in Tyler. Mark lost his life Thursday while trying to stop a gunman who opened fire on the Smith County Courthouse. The shooter, David Hernandez Arroyo, Sr. also killed his ex-wife and wounded four others. After a police chase, Arroyo himself was shot and killed by officers.
Police say, Mark's actions saved David Arroyo Jr.'s life and possibly many others. After today's funeral, a memorial for Mark was held on the square in Downtown Tyler, just feet from where he gave his life.
"We all know that bad things happen to good people. But when it hits close to home, and when it takes one of our own, we're brought up short and left only with questions," says Russell Harris, one of Mark's close friends.
And they were left with memories of Mark Wilson, a man who didn't think twice about putting himself in danger for others.
"Greater love hath no one than this: that he lay down his life for his friend's. That's for one of his friends, let alone someone he didn't know yet," says John Seiple, another one of Mark's close friends.
Friends all say Mark's integrity set him apart, and so did his passion for making the most of every moment. Throughout the day they shared memories of a man notorious for his laughter and wit.
"I remember softball. He had a limp and he loved competition so much, he would run down to first base he would skip on his limp and grimace in pain. But he'd be back to bat again the next time, just because he loved the game so much. He believed like I did, and we discussed this: Life shoud be experienced and not observed, you participate," says Seiple.
It was a philosophy Mark not only believed, but lived.
"Mark Wilson was a man of honor, and I can think of nothing more honorable than selflessly giving his life in defense of others, because that's just the kind of guy Mark was," says Harris.
"I'd like to thank Mark for those eight or nine years that we had with him. And I'd like to thank Mark for Thursday," says John O'Sullivan, another of Marks good friends.
That was a day many will never forget. It was the day Mark Wilson became a hero.
"On the last day of his life he did the greatest thing of his life. He was no Mighty Mouse and no Super Man. But he will always be remembered in our hearts as a mighty, super, man," says Paul Jefferson, a friend of Mark's from high school.
After today's memorial, many of Mark's family and friends met up at Rick's, also on the Tyler square to share good times and laughter they had with Mark.