In an emotional statement Friday, the stepfather of the young British soldier who was hacked to death this week on a busy south London street said his son was "our hero."

"Our hearts have been ripped apart from us, everyone is struggling to cope with this tragedy," a grief stricken Ian Rigby said of his son Lee.

The Guardian reports that the stepfather also read the last text message that the 25-year-old soldier sent to his mother:

"Goodnight mum, I hope you had a fantastic day today because you are the most fantastic and one-in-a million mum that anyone could ever wish for. Thank you for supporting me all these years, you're not just my mum you're my best friend. So goodnight, love you loads."

The younger Rigby's widow, Rebecca, broke down in tears during the session with reporters. "I love Lee and always will," she said.

Channel4News has posted video from the family's news conference.

Meanwhile, Britain's Daily Mirror has posted video footage showing some of the moments after police arrived at the scene and were confronted by the two armed men who — claiming they were acting in retaliation for the deaths of Muslims during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — are accused of killing Rigby. The Mirror writes that:

"The brave [officer] first on the scene at the Woolwich beheading comes within inches of death, a dramatic Daily Mirror video shows. The driver, unable to draw her firearm, is saved by a male colleague in the back who fires his machine-gun through his window at a suspect who is charging at her."

The two suspects were wounded and taken into custody. Two other people, as we reported Thursday, were arrested later in the day as police searched for possible accomplices.

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