When an armed attacker opened fire in Santa Fe High School on Friday, two school resource officers quickly confronted the gunman, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the students and staff. The “brave officers” are credited with “[stepping] up to the plate” to engage the shooter, helping to bring the attack to an end.
“When you get these calls, every police officer, no matter where you are, has to immediately engage the active shooter, period,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw on Friday, according to a report by Business Insider.
“There’s no alternative. Because every second means that someone else is going to die.”
McCraw praised the two resource officers from the Santa Fe Independent School District.
School resource officer John Barnes, 49, was the first person to engage the attacker. During his encounter with the gunman, Barnes was shot in the arm.
Barnes was quickly joined by the Santa Fe Independent School District police chief, who, according to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, pulled Barnes to safety.
A Texas State Trooper also engaged the shooter, McCraw confirmed.
“We know that because they were willing to run into that building and engage them right now that other lives can be saved,” said McCraw. “It’s absolutely important.”
The officers were hailed as “heroes” by Governor Greg Abbott.
“Their action probably ensured that more lives were not lost,” Abbott stated.
Barnes worked as a Houston Police Department officer for over 20 years before retiring in January. He later joined the Santa Fe police force.
He was initially listed in critical condition after being wounded by the gunman. According to a surgeon, Barnes “was bleeding out and his blood pressure was very low, so the immediate issue was to resuscitate him and give him enough blood product to get his blood pressure up and take him straight to the OR.”
Barnes is said to be in stable condition after surgery to repair damage to a major blood vessel and the bone in his arm.
A GoFundMe page has been reportedly started by his family to help assist with any medical costs associated with his treatment.