Hero Brendan Kelly survived two mass shootings said his training kicked in as once again he saved lives at the Borderline, LA massacre.
An Irish American hero, Brendan Kelly’s experience of being present at both the 2017 mass shooting in Los Vegas where 58 people were killed and this week’s shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill, in Thousand Oaks, California illustrates just how frequent and usual gun violence in the United States has become.
Kelly was unlucky enough to be present at both events but happily, due to his training in the Marines, he was able to save multiple people’s lives.
According to the website Gun Violence Archive, Wednesday, Nov 7’s shooting in Thousand Oaks brings the number of mass shootings to 307. That’s almost one mass shooting per day in the United States, in 2018.
When a masked gunman entered the country music, line dancing bar, in Thousand Oaks and opened fire Kelly (22) recognized immediately the sounds of gunshots being fired in an enclosed space.
Just as it had when he witnessed the mass shooting of 58 people in Los Vegas, on Oct 1, 2017, again last Wednesday Kelly’s training kicked in. According to the Marine Corps Times, when he heard the gun being fired, he started to through those around him to the ground. Once he had identified the source of the shots he grabbed as people as he could and led them to the nearest exit.
He used his belt and t-shirt off his own back as a tourniquet to help his friend, whose arm was bleeding.
Kelly said “As soon as I identified where the target was, or where the threat was, I grabbed at least two people around me and yanked them as hard as I could to get to the nearest exit.
“I wanted to help as best I could,” Kelly said. “If we could be the first level of first responders before they got there, then you do all you can do instead of standing around not doing much.”
The Marine told the news station ABC 7 “There’s not time for emotions to be involved, you have to do
“You have to act. Because people’s lives are on the line.”
The Borderline attack hit very close to home for Kelly and his friends who had been in Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Stripe when a gunman opened fire and let off more 1,100 rounds into the crowds from a hotel room window. A local Thousand Oaks, US Navy veteran had been killed during the 2017 shooting and Kelly and Borderline has hosted a benefit concert in his honor.
He said “Borderline was our safe space ... for the probably 30 to 45 of us that were all from the Ventura County area that were in Vegas.
Kelly added that having survived both mass shootings “The only, only thing I can contribute to is God.
“His protective hand over me that night, on Oct. 1, and last night.”
Sadly, the suspected gunman, from the Borderline attack, had also served in the US Marines. Ian David Long had deployed to Afghanistan, in 2010, as a machine gunner.
Back in October 2017, Kelly’s bravery was also reported after he saved the life of a woman he had met just two hours previous. After the attack, Renee Cesario took to social media to commend his actions in ensuring she was protected from the gunfire and for bringing her to safety.
On Facebook, she wrote, “Before I knew what was going on, Brendan tackled me down to the ground and covered me from the fire.”
She continued “It stopped again and he looked around to see what was happening and then it just kept going. He looked at me and said 'We have to get out of here. We can't stay here. It's not safe.'
“Then he pulled my arm up to get me out of the piles of people. We had no idea who was dead or who was alive. We just started to run. He kept telling me it was going to be okay and to keep running until we were safe.”
I noticed a couple guys in plain clothes & gloves helping people at Borderline. Just read that one of those guys, Brendan Kelly, was at Route 91 where he saved & helped a stranger. To have lived through this twice is awful. And to have helped so many is amazing. pic.twitter.com/tVZxAP9aez— Laney (@LaneyCalifornia) November 9, 2018
Once in a safer location with Cesario still separated from her friends and family members, Kelly continued to look out for her welfare, staying with her through the night until she was reunited with her sister.
“He even let me use his phone to stay in touch with my sister, so she knew I was safe… The whole night he didn't leave my side.”
Following this incident, Kelly refused to comment on his bravery. His friend and fellow Marine, Chance Wilk, said “He's not that type of Marine...he doesn't seek attention, recognition, or fame. He does it because he's a genuinely good guy and American hero.”
He’s certainly an American hero and one that seems to have a strong guardian angel on his shoulder.