San Bernardino First Responders Tell Their Harrowing Stories

9 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

California detective who said he’d ‘take a bullet’ cites scared child as inspiration.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. The brave cop seen in a video calming survivors of the San Bernardino, California, mass shooting — promising them “I’ll take a bullet before you do, that’s for damn sure” — came forward Tuesday to insist that he was no hero because any other cop would have done the same thing.

A sheriff’s detective who won praise for his bold shepherding of frightened people out of the Southern California building where a couple opened fire last week says it was a crazy situation and he did nothing that anyone in his position wouldn’t have done. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Jorge Lozano was just one of more than 300 local, county and state officers who responded to the Inland Resource Center, the state-run facility for people with developmental disabilities where Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 during a holiday lunch last week. About two dozen of those first responders, all wearing black ribbons, appeared Tuesday at a news conference at San Bernardino police headquarters to talk about their experiences nearly a week after the massacre.

Andy Capps, Joe Aguilar, Matthias Knudsen, Chad Johnson, Jorge Lozano, Angela Gentry and 24 others all have some awful things to remember the rest of their lives, but to many they are heroes. But it was the words of Lozano — recorded on a cellphone by one of the people he led to safety — that captured in the minds of many the heroism of the law enforcement officers who risked their lives that day to save those of others.

One of them was a woman with a small child, “maybe an 8-year-old boy, terrified, shaking like a leaf.” “It’s nothing short of what any other person in law enforcement would do. Not long after that, some 300 officers, firefighters, paramedics and others blasted their way to the 1300 block of Waterman to stop the two and help as many people as they could. We knew there were people down and we needed to get someone to them.” “I would be lying if i said it wasn’t difficult walking up to those doors,” with alarms blaring, sprinklers activated and a pall of gunpowder “prevalent in the room,” Lewis said. “You know, we didn’t have any cover,” he said. “We didn’t know where in the building the gunmen were. Officer Nicholas Koahou, the lone officer shot in the gunfight that killed the couple hours later, also spoke at the news conference, saying he’s a former Marine who was determined to keep fighting even after he took the bullet. Other ordinary cops and community members have also emerged in the last week as their comments struck a chord with people jittery after the attack, which investigators quickly labeled a terrorist act.

The campus is just miles away from the social service center where Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, opened fire on a holiday party of his co-workers last Wednesday. His call for Americans to remember that most cops “do the job to go out and protect the public” helped to bring the message home that most officers are decent people deserving respect. “We’ve taken a lot of hits lately — some of it justified, some of it not justified — and it takes a toll on you,” Madden said last week. “It’s hard being labeled a rogue cop.” And there was Dany Doueiri, an associate professor at the Center for Islamic and Middle East Studies at California State University-San Bernardino, who urged Americans in a voice choked with emotion to understand that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful and reject the message of ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups. “I don’t know how murderers can claim to follow Islam,” Doueiri said at a vigil at the university Monday night. “They attacked my faith, Islam.

They attacked your faith, and they attacked all the people who affiliate with any faith. “It may be difficult for us to dream when we are still bleeding, but I hope we can all rise … with hope and wisdom to fight ignorance with knowledge, to fight violence with compassion and to fight hate with love,” he said.

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