San Bernardino detective who promised to 'take a bullet' says he's no hero

Cop: I'll take a bullet before you
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Story highlights

  • Detective Jorge Lozano says his actions during San Bernardino shootings didn't rise to heroism
  • "I'll take a bullet before you do. That's for damn sure," Lozano told employees at Inland Regional Center
  • Words were particularly aimed at a boy who was shivering "to the point of shaking life a leaf," he says

(CNN)Detective Jorge Lozano was hailed as a hero for his collected demeanor during the San Bernardino, California, shootings.

With fear and the sound of gunshots filling the air, he assured dozens of people taking cover that before the shooters got to any of them, they'd have to go through him.
Lozano of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office flatly brushed off the accolades during a Tuesday news conference in which 30 of the 300 law enforcement officers who responded to the scene last week shared their stories, according to CNN affiliate KCAL-TV.
    "I don't feel like a hero whatsoever," he said. "Any one of the 300 people that were there would have said the same thing. That's our job, to put ourselves on the line of danger to protect the community."
    Radio station KPCC posted on Facebook a video of Lozano attempting to quell the fears of 47 stunned people inside the Inland Regional Center. It's been viewed more than 1.3 million times since Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, exacted a massacre during a holiday party for the environmental health department where he worked. Fourteen people were killed, and 21 more were wounded.
    In the short clip, Lozano is at the end of a hall, ensuring he has the all-clear before ushering the frightened employees down the hallway to an elevator. The employees, some of them wide-eyed, stand in a line with their arms raised and identification badges in hand. Some held hands, while others monitored their phones.
    As the elevator dinged and the door opened, the officer said, "Go, go, go, go."
    "Try to relax, everyone. Try to relax. I'll take a bullet before you do. That's for damned sure," Lozano tells the employees as they pass him.
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    During Tuesday's news conference, he explained that his powerful promise was aimed at one child, in particular.
    "There was a female there with a small child, had an 8-year-old little boy that was just terrified -- just shivering almost, to the point of shaking life a leaf," he said. "And I said what I said. I meant what I said. I said it for them just to kind of calm down, relax, that we were going to do everything we can to get them out of that building safely."
    His actions weren't extraordinary for a police officer, he insisted: "It's nothing short of what any other person in law enforcement would do."
    It seems few concur, as many lauded his actions, which they felt were emblematic of the massive effort law enforcement made to keep people safe in the aftermath of the December 2 shooting.
    "What an honorable officer. Thank you sir. And thank you to his family for supporting him while he puts his life on the line," one person wrote in reaction to the video on Facebook.