KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It's been a year since a Knoxville man was shot and killed while trying to break up a domestic dispute. John 'Pache' Mack died a hero. His contributions to society as a father, son and organ donor still shine a light on his impact.
On Monday, community members gathered to release balloons in his honor. Dozens of people joined together in prayer for Pache.
"Lord, he was always a person that wanted to help somebody else ... and in his death, he did that twice over," the group said.
Pache's father, John Mack Sr. stood on the left. Pache's two little girls stood beside him. Rochane Angel, the heart recipient, stood with them in unity.
Mack said his son was a hero for the way he died.
A report from the Knoxville Police Department said a man named Roshaun Smith started an argument with his child's mother, Renee Chase. He was reported to be intoxicated and waving around a handgun.
According to police reports, Smith started making threats to Chase. It got to the point where witnesses took notice and even tried to calm him down.
One of those witnesses was Pache. According to reports, he tried to persuade Smith to calm down and go home.
"The defendant has the handgun in this incident and was seen by witnesses waving it around, disregarding the safety of everyone nearby," the report said.
That's when the gun went off. Pache was shot in the head.
"For us, the accident that happened and, you know, he was trying to be a hero," Pache's father said.
He said heroism was just part of his son's personality
"He was a real outgoing person. He had a good heart. He had two beautiful daughters, and, I mean, he was just such a good kid growing up," Mack said.
That day, he did not only save the woman in distress. He saved Rochane Angel, who was desperately in need of a new heart. The two were family friends.
"I feel really good. I'm very blessed. Very blessed," Angel said.
"They thank us for passing it down to her, but we thank her for accepting it," Mack said.
Now, a bereaved father and organ recipient who were bonded originally by their friendship shares something deeper.
Angel has a stethoscope where the Mack family can listen to her heartbeat — Pache's old heartbeat. Pache's father can listen to the heartbeat. So can Pache's two young girls.
"He's here. He still walks this earth," Mack said.
"I'm just grateful. I'm just blessed to have all my family and friends here," Angel said. "Thank god that I'm breathing and I'm alive and I can walk and I can talk.