The titles range from Dispatcher to Corporal. The names read like a who’s who of local law enforcement. 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.
Wednesday, December 2nd, heavily armed Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik blasted into a conference center at the Inland Regional Center and killed 14 people having a holiday party. Besides those they killed the two injured almost two dozen more. 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. They saved lives.
Jorge Lozano, now famously, told a group of trembling workers inside not to worry as he tried to encourage them to follow him out of the building. He told them not to worry. He told them he'd take a bullet for them. Officer Nicholas Koahou actually did take a bullet… in the leg. Happened during the pursuit later in the day in which Farook and Malik were killed.
Today, those first responders talked to reporters about how scared they were, how they fell back on their training, how they smelled clouds of gun powder, walked over carnage, were sickened to their stomachs but, in the end, did their job. Those who spoke did so in the name of those who died. The 30 first responders at the news conference were:
Probation Officer III Angela Gentry
Supervising Probation Officer Nathan Scarano
Redlands Police Sgt. Andy Capps
Redlands Officer Joe Aguilar
Redlands Matthias Knudsen
SBCo Det. Chad Johnson
SBCo Det. Jorge Lozano
SBCo Dep. Bruce Southworth
SBCo Dep. Shaun Wallen
SBCo Dispatcher Michelle Rodriguez
SBCo Dispatcher Rachel Achilly
SBPD Lt. Mike Madden
SBPD Det. Brian Lewis
SBPD Det. Tiffany Emon
SBPD Officer Brett Murphy
SBPD Officer Donald Sawyer
SBPD Nicholas Koahou
SBPD Dispatch Supervisor Annie Teall
SBPD Dispatcher II Marisa Havins
Fontana PD Corporal Scott Snyder
Fontana PD Corporal Mike Ernes
Fontana PD Corporal Jon Vantuinen
SB City Fire Capt. Greg Soria
SB City Fire Capt. Jason Serrano
SB City Fire Engineer John Miller
SB City Fire Paramedic FF Cody Strickland
CHP Officer Mike White
CHP Officer Brian Alvarez
CHP Officer Jim Smith
CHP Captain Glen Dominguez
From Christine Devine:
"Horrific." That's how one police officer describes the scene after the terror attack in San Bernardino that left fourteen dead.
Some of those early responders to the Inland Regional Center stepped in front of a mic to share what they felt, saw, did and said. It was a joint effort with a number of agencies responding.
Initially, first responders faced a frightening uncertainty. Their first move was to look for the shooters, moving past bodies and people who'd been shot. The Fontana Police Department was also on the scene. Corporal Scott Snyder said "my body went numb, It was overwhelming and surreal."
"We do all the training. I never thought it would happen here" said SBPD's Brett Murphy. The heroic moments were plenty on that day.
Said Lt. Mike Madden of the SBPD, "it hits home. But it’s what we're supposed to do." Another said, "we do all the training... I never thought it would happen here."
The suspects, Syed Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik, were found blocks away and exchanged gunfire with law enforcement before being killed. San Bernardino Police Officer Nicholas Koahou was hit in the leg by a bullet.
Farook had attended the holiday party at the IRC for the Department of Environmental Health where he also worked. Fourteen people died and 21 were injured.