Three members of the Howland community unknowingly put their lives in imminent danger last February.

They thought they were helping car accident victims and instead came face to face with a gun and a killer.

It was on Route 46 last year when Nasser Hamad opened fire on a van full of people.  Killing two people and injuring three others, while also firing his weapon across the busy highway.

That's when an off-duty firefighter, and a nurse and her son stopped to help.  It was that day they became heroes.

Howland Police Chief Nick Roberts honored the three community members with the "Above and Beyond Citizens Award."

All three recognized and presented a plaque for their selfless sacrifice.  They risked their own lives to help people covered in blood, victims in and outside of a van they thought had been in an automobile crash of some sort.

Ben Moody was an off-duty Howland Firefighter at the time, but soon realized this was no accident, but a shooting.  

"As soon as I got out of my truck and came around the side of it, I looked and saw the bullet holes in the windshield and saw there was more going on than what I initially thought.  There was still an active loaded gun in someone's hands. My training took over and the scene was just not safe.  I knew I needed to back away and wait for the police to get there.  So I ran a couple hundred yards at a full sprint trying to get away and find somewhere that I could go.  Panting, bent over, not even being able to make sentences, a gentleman, that I didn't even know, invited me into his home without a second question. He told me to sit down and let me call 911," Moody said.

Off duty nurse, Kym Daniels and her teenage son Skylar also stopped to help.  Thinking they could assist accident victims including a female driver in the van.

Skylar Daniels, now 16-years-old and a student at Howland High School, said, "She was bleeding very badly from her head all the way down to her chest.  There was blood underneath the car it was a bad scene."

Skylar's mother, Kym Daniels who is a nurse, tells 21 News, "Then my son and I both saw the man with the gun at the same time.  I looked up and told my son to get in the car.  But we couldn't back up to get out of the driveway because someone was blocking us in.  And the guy with the gun was walking towards us pointing it at us."

Kym Daniels tells me she wasn't really afraid for herself, she wanted to protect her son.

"I was praying that when he did shoot because I figured he would, he would shoot me and not my son.  So it was very scary," Kym Daniels said.

But just when the mother and son thought they had no way out, they heard police sirens and saw flashing lights.  Police arrived and these average citizens flagged them down after they saw the gunman Nasser Hamad turn and walk away from them.

"Without them being there I don't know if I'd be here today," Skylar Daniels said.

The Daniels told police where the gunman went and when they saw him taken into custody these average citizens did something even more extraordinary, they stayed to help.

Kym Daniels says while she tried to keep the driver of the van from losing consciousness, she was amazed that her son managed to have the composure most adults wouldn't have to keep two other victims calm in the midst of chaos.

As for Skylar Daniels he would do it all over again if he had to. "I would stop again for sure, and be there for those victims," he said.

He wants to be a doctor someday saying he doesn't want to see any more lives lost.  It seems this poised and caring young man already has a good start.