Chattanooga shooting victim Skip Wells "always put others before himself"

Nolan Opp met Skip Wells in the sixth grade and the two remained friends throughout their years at Sprayberry High School. Wells always expressed an interest in a military career and excelled in Junior ROTC program, Opp recalled.

News that Wells was one of the victims killed when a shooter went on a rampage at two military sites in Chattanooga left his longtime friend speechless.

"We were very close," said Opp, now a US Army private first class stationed at Fort Stewart. "From the moment I met him, he had a demeanor about him. He was a great guy. I was his (JROTC) platoon commander for two years. He always wanted to learn. He wanted to be the best he could be at anything he did."

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Credit: Jennifer Brett

Wells showed leadership in school activities such as marching band in addition to ROTC, Opp said. He was a disciplined, well-respected student who valued his friends.

"He always put others before himself," Opp said. "There would be times when I was just not myself or I’d be down about something. He would go out of his way to make sure I was OK. Everybody looked up to him."

Wells' grieving family did not want to talk to reporters on Friday. It took time for Opp to process the news.

"I found out (Thursday) night around 7:30," he said. "I was just speechless. I was very shocked. I still am shocked. I didn’t sleep at all last night."