SOUTH SACRAMENTO, CA (KTXL/CNN) – The grandmother of an 8-year-old boy is grieving after he was beaten to death with a hammer while trying to protect his young sister from molestation.

Dante Daniels, 8, never made it to his second day of third grade. Early in the morning of Sept. 1, investigators say his mother’s ex-boyfriend, 23-year-old Deandre Chaney Jr., attacked Dante with a hammer.

Chaney Jr. murdered the 8-year-old while the man was engaged in the crime of committing a lewd act on Dante’s 7-year-old sister Danae, according to a criminal complaint.

“Trying to save his sister from this child molester, and that’s why he was beat the worst,” said Dante’s grandmother, Monique Brown.

Investigators say at some point, Chaney Jr. turned a hammer and knife on Danae, as well as the children’s mother, 28-year-old Elizabeth Salone.

The complaint alleges Chaney Jr. also used lighter fluid.

Dante was declared brain dead after the attack, and six days later, he died.

Both Salone and Danae survived, but Brown says her daughter will probably never see out of her left eye again and her granddaughter will need a lot of help.

Brown says Dante was a hero, continuing to help others even after his death.

“Dante gave his heart to a 4-year-old In Southern California, so a 4-year-old lives because of [him],” Brown said.

Chaney Jr. is facing murder and attempted murder charges along with a charge of lewd acts with a child under 14.

A GoFundMe has been created for the family as they recover.