DAYTON, Ohio (WCMH) — Saeed Saleh came to the United States three years ago to escape the violence and repression in the Northeast African country of Eritrea. Saleh, 38, was one of nine people shot and killed outside a Dayton nightclub early Sunday morning.

His friends say Saleh worked as a forklift operator for DHL.

“He was a family man,” said Neb Tesfaye. “He didn’t really go out that much – just went out with a friend that day…to have a couple of beers.”

Tesfaye says Saleh stepped outside the bar to smoke a cigarette. He was standing near the front door when the shooting started.

Police say the gunman, Connor Betts, opened fire shortly after 1am. They say he was wearing a bulletproof vest and a mask and was armed with a semi-automatic rifle and 250 rounds of ammunition.

“Thank God the police responded so quick, took him out because who knows how many more people he would have killed,” Tesfaye said while standing in front of dozens of flowers, candles and balloons that mark the spot where the shooting took place.

Saleh is survived by his wife and a five-year-old daughter.