SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – 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 shrugged off his heroism and newfound celebrity, saying he was only doing what was necessary and that the sight of a terrified child had inspired him.
"Try to relax everyone, try to relax, I'll take a bullet before you do, that's for damn sure," Det. Jorge Lozano said in a video captured in the hallway of the Inland Regional Center as he escorted employees and others who had been stranded in a hallway as the shootings went on in a conference room.
On Tuesday he talked about the moment for the first time at a news conference of first responders to the shootings.
He explained what inspired him to make the declaration.
"When they were passing me there was a female there with a small child that was just terrified, shivering almost, shaking like a leaf, and I said what I said. I meant what I said. Calm down, relax and we were going to do everything we could," Lozano said.
He said he had been scared himself when someone opened a door without announcing themselves, but knew the people he was responsible for were relying on him for comfort and calm so he provided it, as any of his colleagues would have done for the people they signed on to protect.
"I don't feel like a hero whatsoever," Lozano said. "That's our job to put ourselves in the line."
The video — and the "take a bullet" line in particular — have made something of a celebrity out of Lozano, and he won the admiration of the public and his colleagues.
Lt. Mike Madden, another first-responder to the scene who was asked last week if it was him in the video replied, "No, I'm not that cool."