The victim was 18-year-old Javier Flores, described by his friends as working to help his family. Both Flores and his mother worked at a Subway shop in southeast Houston.
"Active, he liked to participate in theater class. He always backed up his family. He always backed up his friends," Flores' father said.
Friends of the victim were not surprised to learn that he did everything possible to save his mother.
"He had my back. He had his friends' back, his family's back, like always. He had someone's back if you had his back," Helizander Rodriguez said.
Patrol officers were called to the restaurant around 8 p.m., where they found Flores with a gunshot wound to the neck.
According to police, the two suspects walked into the restaurant and pointed the gun at the victim's mother. Flores pushed his mother aside as the two would-be robbers shot him. No customers were in the restaurant at the time of the shooting.
Rodriguez was with Flores' father as the family was rushed to Subway after the shooting.
"It looked bad. For a friend to look at him like that, it was bad," Rodriguez said.
Flores was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment, where he later died.
Endy Herrera, who had known Flores since middle school, described himself as heartbroken.
"I kind of feel like shedding some tears because I've been on him for a while and how he took a bullet for his mom, I would call him my hero for doing that," Herrera said.
Investigators are looking for two males who fled in a small tan, foreign car. Another robbery occurred at a nearby Subway restaurant and police are looking into whether the two may be related.
Houston police released a sketch Thursday of one of the men.
The suspects are both described as black males, one is 18 to 20 years old and about 5 feet 7 inches with no facial hair. He wore a dark blue hoodie and black pants.
The other is described as being in his mid-teens, possibly 17 years old. He had on a light blue colored hoodie and black pants.