“I want to go back there and talk to the people,” Hoech reportedly told officers at the police line. “This is America. I can go where I want to go. And if you’re going to shoot my ass, go ahead and shoot me.”

74 Year Old Vietnam Vet Reportedly the Only Person to Get Through Police Line in Ferguson — Here’s What He Told Cops

Hoech apparently drove 60 miles to join the protests in Ferguson, where there has been unrest for days following the controversial shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Despite the divisive racial accusations being thrown around in the aftermath of the tragic shooting, Hoech says “the only thing that matters in all of this is that mother who lost her son.”

“I want to give her a hug and tell her I love her. I have four kids and eight grandkids and I haven’t had to bury any one of them. What she’s going through must be terrible,” he said.

More from the Daily Beast report:

Just before 7 p.m. the protesters took to the street in front of the Torched QuikTime gas station, chanting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” It’s the popular slogan referencing the belief that Brown was surrendering when he was gunned down. And for the second night in a row, the police tactic of cutting off the main protest area from the rest of the community initially backfired, drawing residents who learned of the cops in riot gear and the redirecting of traffic through word of mouth and rapidly spreading social media posts.

Unlike Monday night, when chaos didn’t rear its head until dusk, a police chopper and the heavy law enforcement presence that preceded it was hovering before the sun went down. But it didn’t last, with only small group staying in the area until just after 10 when they were joined by a marching band of mostly young black men, chanting “Hands up. Don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace” and “We are Mike Brown.”

Read TheBlaze’s wrap-up post on the unrest in Ferguson here.