A police officer leading trapped bystanders to safety from the Inland Regional Center, the site of Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernandino, Calif., offered comforting words to the group that has won the hearts of many.
Cell phone video footage, captured by customer service coordinator Gabi Flores, shows the tense moments at the social service center in San Bernardino, as the group was being calmly guided out of harm’s way by police officers.
In the video, people including two women holding a child's hands appear clearly anxious and whisper as they try to get out of the building. At that point, the group had no idea where the attackers were.
Despite the terrifying situation unfolding, a cop can be heard reassuring the panicked group, "Try to relax, try to relax. I'll take a bullet before you do, that's for damn sure."
The video has gone viral and many people on the Internet were quick to praise the officer’s calm actions.
“What an honorable officer. Thank you sir. And thank you to his family for supporting him while he puts his life on the line,” Facebook user Kookoo Jacobs, commented on a post of the footage by KPCC, a public radio station in Pasadena.
One Reddit user said:
"This is a video of a police officer doing a commendable job. In the middle of all this chaos and terror the officer was able to keep everyone calm and orderly. This is the kind of professionalism one would hope for. When all you ever hear is how bad cops are, it's good to see the other side of things."
Another Redditor wrote:
"You can hear the camera person sort of laugh to herself, and she definitely sounds like she was crying based on the other noises. I imagine that probably eased a lot of tension and made her and others feel very safe. Just a good officer doing his job well."
Police say at least 14 people were killed and 17 wounded during the shooting at the San Bernardino facility, which serves individuals with developmental disabilities and has a staff of nearly 670 people.
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said of the attackers, “They came prepared to do what they did, as if they were on a mission."
The shooting came just five days after a gunman opened fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, killing one police officer and two civilians.