Corporals Rafael Ixco and Chad Johnson, Deputies Bruce Southworth and Shaun Wallen (San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department), and Officers Nicholas Koahou and Brian Olvera (San Bernardino Police Department) are being honored for their heroic efforts to end the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California.
On December 2, 2015, 14 people were shot and killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party. The two suspects, a male and a female, allegedly entered the Inland Regional Center armed with assault rifles and handguns and began firing on employees. They also attempted to detonate a bomb.
After the shooting, the suspects fled in a black SUV. Officers in undercover vehicles were sent to conduct surveillance at two residences - one in Redlands and one in Riverside - that were determined to belong to one of the suspects.
When those officers arrived at the Redlands location, they observed the SUV, operated by the male suspect, leaving an alley behind the residence. The female suspect was in the back seat. The officers began following the vehicle onto the I-10 freeway, then a second group of officers in marked patrol vehicles took up surveillance and tracked the suspects. After the SUV left the freeway and traveled a distance, a Redlands sergeant activated his lights and siren to stop the vehicle. The female suspect began firing an assault rifle at the officers through the back window. Eventually, the driver stopped in the eastbound lanes of San Bernardino Avenue, got out of the car armed with an assault rifle and joined the female suspect in firing at the officers, who exited their vehicles and returned fire.
Corporals Rafael Ixco and Chad Johnson, Deputy Bruce Southworth, Officers Nicholas Koahou and Brian Olvera, and a Redlands officer arrived on the scene. All officers, including Deputy Shaun Wallen, who was pinned down behind his vehicle, and Officer Koahou, who had been shot in the leg, engaged in a lengthy gun battle and mortally wounded both suspects, ending the engagement.
When the gunfire ended, armored SWAT vehicles arrived and officers found that both suspects had hundreds of rounds of ammunition on their persons and thousands more in their vehicle. Officer Koahou was transported to a local hospital where he was admitted and treated for the gunshot wound.
Corporal Johnson has since taken a position as district attorney investigator in the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office; Officer Koahou is now with the Redlands, California, Police Department; and Deputy Southworth and Officer Olvera are now assigned as detectives in their departments.