Standout members of the security industry were honored at an award show in Rancho Mirage, including one security team for their heroic rescues at the Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting in July.
It was the end of their shift on the fifth day of the festival when they thought they heard fireworks ringing out. They quickly learned it was an active shooter and jumped into action, ultimately saving lives.
“As we ran to the site and over the hill I could hear rapid fire gunshots,” said Mathew Luther, a branch manager for First Security Services, a subsidiary of SOS Security.
“They said it was gunshots. Natural reaction for me, I just ran into it,” said Eric Bahri, a security officer with First Security. “I didn’t think about anything else. I thought, ‘Go help people, that’s my job, I’m the security officer, this what I’m paid to do.”
As people screamed, cried and ran, the officers worked to get them to safety, pushing them to the ground and getting gunshot victims help.
“I didn’t have much time to react,” Bahri said. “I knew I had to act fast; I had to act now. Every second that goes by, a life can be lost.”
Amid chaos, one officer even exchanged gunfire with the shooter. They say he appeared determined to kill as many people as possible.