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'He'd do it again': Murdered airman's girlfriend recounts shooting, remembers his life

Sarah Terrano is still coming to grips with the murder of her boyfriend, U.S. airman and Westbrook native Shawn McKeough. She's asking everyone to remember him for who he was and not the tragic way he died.

STANDISH, Maine — It's been almost one week since Sarah Terrano's boyfriend, U.S. airman and Westbrook native Shawn Mckeough, was shot and killed in an Arkansas convenience store. She says she never expected a simple trip to buy beer would turn into her worst nightmare.

"It doesn’t feel right to be here without him," Terrano said. "I don’t think it will ever feel right to be here without him."

The two had been out celebrating their anniversary with friends last Friday night when they decided to Uber to a Valero station in North Little Rock to buy some beer. 

Shawn and two others went into the store -- she and another friend stayed behind in the car. Terrano says two people wearing masks running across the parking lot caught her eye. At first, she thought they were just kids.

"As soon as they entered the store I was like 'No, they aren’t kidding around -- this is bad.'" Terrano said.

She remembers seeing them wave their guns at the cashier as they yelled at her friends and others inside, all of them crouching to the ground. Terrano couldn't see Shawn.

"I knew right then, I was like, 'If he turns around and sees them pointing that gun, he’s going to do something,'" Terrano said. "I just thought, 'Please no... Don’t do anything.'"

But that wasn't who Shawn was.

Police say he was shot and killed as he tried to stop the two men from robbing the store.

Sarah remembers hearing the gun shots. Shawn never stood back up.

"I was pulling at the Uber door. I just needed to get out," Terrano said. "I ran in, and it was bad. It was really bad."

The moments after are a blur. Sarah remembers trying to do everything she could to bring Shawn back to life.

"The picture in my head replays over and over and over," Terrano said. "I was going to try to do everything I could to save him and keep him with me, but I couldn’t."

In the days since his death, Sarah has moved back to Maine with their two dogs. As she continues to process what happened, she's asking that everyone who knew him or has heard his story to remember Shawn for the way he lived -- not the way he died.

"I don’t want people thinking it was just another person, because it's not," Terrano said. "He was so strong and brave, and I know he would do it again."

McKeough joined the United States Air Force a couple years after graduating from Westbrook High School. He was 20 years old.

Shawn would spend the next three and half years serving in Germany, Kuwait, South Korea, and eventually Arkansas.

Every step of the way, Sarah was by his side.

"I told him anywhere he went, no matter what, I was going to go with him." Terrano said.

The two moved down to Arkansas the day after Christmas last year to be near his base in Jacksonville.

She says he had the biggest heart and the best sense of humor, recalling a moment one of their pups had an accident on the floor.

"He just looked at me and said, 'Should I go poop in that corner?'" Terrano said, laughing. "He could always make you smile, no matter what."

It's that personality and love for his family and country that Sarah wants others to remember him by and learn from. 

Terrano says the tragic way he died sums up everything about who he was as a person.

"He saved a lot of lives that night, and I know he did it for me; he did it for our friends; he did it for all the people in there," Terrano said. "If he had survived, he would do it again."

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