LONDONDERRY — Paul Frontiero died trying to protect his neighbors.
That didn't surprise Frontiero's former coach at Londonderry High School.
"Paul was a great kid with a big heart," coach and LHS English teacher Russell "Rusty" Brand said Tuesday. "It was shocking to hear about his death, but unsurprising to hear how brave and heroic he was defending someone else."
The 27-year-old Londonderry native was fatally stabbed outside his Nashua apartment building at 10:30 p.m. Sunday when he intervened to help his neighbors, Jill Arnold, 29, and Kathryn Libby, 29.
Police said two men attacked the women before Frontiero jumped into the fight.
Arnold suffered minor cuts. Libby was seriously wounded, but expected to survive. Frontiero was stabbed in his heart and did not survive.
On Monday, police charged Matthew Packer, 19, of Nashua with assault and second degree murder.
Frontiero grew up in Londonderry and graduated from Londonderry High School in 2003. He played football, lacrosse and baseball in high school, according to Brand.
He said Frontiero was always one to help his friends.
"He was a great teammate in lacrosse," Brand said. "He was the guy who stepped into the net when no one else wanted to play goalie. That's the way he was, always thinking about others. He was a great big brother, an engaging student with a self-deprecating sense of humor, and a person that we'll all miss."
Frontiero attended NHTI Community College in Concord and worked as an EMT for EasCare Ambulance Service of Dorchester, Mass. A coworker, Jaquie Gorman, wrote a message on the Paul Frontiero Memorial page on Facebook, where more than 230 family members and friends shared memories of his life.
"Paul, you were always a comfort to see first thing in the morning because the sun wasn't even up yet and you were smiling bright enough for us not even to care," she wrote. "Everyone at EasCare will miss your presence. You had quite a passion for helping others and bringing them joy on a daily basis."