San Bernardino County Probation officers Nathan Scarano, left, and John Holmes stand across the street from the Inland Regional Center earlier this month as they share their experiences as first responders to the Dec. 2 terrorist attack.
San Bernardino County Probation
officers Nathan Scarano
, left, and John Holmes stand across the street from the Inland Regional Center earlier this month as they share their experiences as first responders to the Dec. 2 terrorist attack.
San Bernardino County probation officers Nathan Scarano and John Holmes were in their office the morning of Dec. 2 when the first dispatches of an active shooter came over the police radio.
En route, Scarano
contacted Holmes over the police radio.
The terror that was apparent in their eyes was like nothing I had ever seen, said Scarano, a supervising probation officer and department veteran of 19 years.
Ive got butterflies right now, Scarano
said during a recent interview outside the Inland Regional Center, where he
returned for the first time since the incident.
and Holmes were among 21 county probation officers who received medals of valor last week during a private Probation Department ceremony
at Cal State San Bernardino.
At the scene of the shooting, Scarano
grabbed as many first aid kits from department vehicles as he
could get his
hands on, yelling for his
colleagues to do the same.
quickly realized the victims injuries were too severe.
I realized my first aid kit was not going to work, Scarano
and other officers were rounding up victims and loading them into vehicles, one of the witnesses ran to them, pointed to a man hiding behind a tree near the entrance to the Inland Empire Lighthouse for the Blind across the street, and said the man could identify the shooter.
instructed two San Bernardino police officers to go talk to the man, who was the first person to identify Farook as the gunman.
loaded four female victims, all who appeared uninjured, into his Chevy Malibu, then yelled for Clark to assist.
At the center, Scarano
and Jaramillo proceeded toward the conference room where the shooting occurred.
recalls the distinct smell of carbon wafting in the air from the gunfire, fire sprinkler water raining down on them and the victims, Christmas decorations strewn about, shot up tiles hanging from the ceiling and overturned tables and chairs.
Then they saw the carnage.
It was pure evil, Sacarano said.
came upon a woman who had been shot, laying on her
back near the conference room entrance, nearly catatonic from shock and softly muttering, I am going to die today.
Dont let me die.
I said, Youre not going to die, Scarano
You ask yourself how anybody could do this to innocent people, Scarano
Were still processing this.
has kept in touch with some of the victims he
helped that fateful day, and he
met four of them for lunch recently at a San Bernardino Thai restaurant.
It was very nice just to sit back and get to know each other in a friendly environment.
It was emotionally healing as well, Scarano
After lunch, the four survivors posed with Scarano
for a picture outside the restaurant.
keeps a framed copy of that photograph in his
office as a reminder of the special bond he
shares with the victims, like soldiers who survive a war.
We all shared in this experience.
It sits with us and it probably always will, he