Two men who helped take down a man who had shot two young girls and a mother of two in a packed out restaurant on Thursday night have been identified.
Juan Carlos Nazario, 35, and Bryan Whittle, 39, were standing outside Louie’s Grill and Bar on Thursday about 6.30pm when the two men heard gunshots.
They did not know each other, but both men had guns in their cars, and immediately sprung into action to take down the shooter.
Nazario works as a security guard, and told KOCO 5 he ‘just did what I was trained to do to neutralize the situation’.
His Facebook account suggests he is a devoted father-of-two.
Whittle has been in the National Guard for about 20 years, and served in Afghanistan.
When asked why he decided to step in during the shooting, the married man said he ‘just did what anyone would have done to help’.
Bryan Whittle (pictured) is one of two good Samaritans who shot and killed a man shooting into a packed out restaurant on Thursday night
Juan Carlos Nazario (pictured) was the second man. The pair, who did not know each other, both ran back to their cars to retrieve their guns so they could stop the shooter
Nazario was the one to fire the fatal shot after confronting the shooter nearby the car park. He said he asked the shooter multiple times to drop his weapon before firing two shots
The shooter, Alex Tilghman, opened fire at random about 6.30pm on Thursday night. He was the only person killed
Nazario was the one to fire the fatal shot, USA Today reported, but says he does not think of himself as a hero.
He said when he found shooter Alex Tilghman, 28, he told him to drop the gun multiple times before firing two shots at him and watching the man ‘fall to the ground’.
‘I just can’t understand being called a hero when someone’s life was taken,’ he said.
‘I just did what I had to do. I’m very glad no innocent lives were taken but ultimately, there was a life taken.’
Speaking to reporters on Friday morning, Oklahoma City Police Captain Bo Mathews declined to call the men heroes, but said the men being nearby was a ‘blessing’.
‘I consider them as two people who stopped an incident that was very bad… we had no idea what he was going to do when he left the restaurant, he said.
‘It could have really been bad… we’re very blessed that only three people were shot and didn’t lose their lives.’
Police had only had contact with Tilghman once before – in 2003 where he was arrested after his mother told police he punched her several times during a dispute over a vacuum cleaner.
Tilghman was licensed as an armed security guard, which authorized him to carry a firearm.
Obtaining such a license requires a background check and at least 72 hours of training.
A man who identified himself as Tilghman’s brother told television station KOCO that Tilghman needed mental health treatment, saying: ‘Nobody reached out to him, you know. He was crying for help.’
Police Captain Bo Mathews said the men were a ‘blessing’ as there was no knowing what shooter Alex Tilghman (pictured) would do after leaving Louie’s
One man told CBS he had been hiding between two parked cars when he saw Nazario and Whittle approach Tilghman together.
Ron Benton said he had been inside the restaurant when Tilghman started shooting. He hit the floor and made his way out of the restaurant.
Soon after, as he was crouched between two cars, he says he saw the two good Samaritans approach Tilghman near the carpark.
‘Anybody who feels compelled when they hear shots fired [to] go into that direction and help out – I mean what do you say about that person? That person is a badass,’ he said.
Both Nazario (left) and Whittle (right) were apprehended by police, though it is unlikely they will face charges for taking out the shooter
Nazario, a father of two, works as a security guard and said he did not feel like a hero
Whittle said he ‘just did what anyone would have done to help’
Two young girls and a female military veteran were injured in the shooting, and another man broke his arm trying to run away
Tilghman fired at random into the packed out restaurant about 6.30pm on Thursday.
He shot mother-of-two and Air Force veteran Natalie Will in the arm, her 12-year-old daughter Syniah in the tailbone and another 14-year-old girl who was accompanying the family was shot.
The mother and daughter are in stable condition, but Syniah had part of her colon removed during a lengthy surgery.
Alex Speegle, 14, had her collarbone shattered by a bullet, and another hit her upper arm.
One bullet hit a nerve in her right hand and left her unable to move it.
Her aunt Leah told friends on Facebook the teenager would need metal plates in both her upper arm and collarbone.
Single mother Natalie Will (left) was shot in the arm, and 12-year-old Syniah (center) was shot in the tailbone. The pair were eating at Louie’s to celebrate the 14th birthday of Natalie’s other daughter Shayla (right)
Syniah, pictured with her father Jabari Giles, had two holes in her bowels and a hole in her tailbone as a result of the gunshots
Leah said Alex went into surgery on Friday morning, and asked for prayers the surgeons could fix her hand.
Ms Will told friends on Facebook Syniah had two holes in her bowels and a hole in her tailbone from the attack. Surgeons had to remove part of her colon, which was ‘shredded’ by a bullet.
The 12-year-old will spend the next 5-7 days in hospital and be off her feet for about a month while she heals.
The family had been out to celebrate the 14th birthday of Syniah’s sister, Shayla, and the 14-year-old girl who was shot was her best friend.
Whittle and Nazario could face charges for killing the shooter, but Mathews says while it is the decision of the District Attorney, it is unlikely they will be filed against.
Mathews said there was no indication the shooter had targeted anybody inside the restaurant, and he had been shooting from the front door of the restaurant.
The National Rifle Association said in a tweet on Friday the shooting was an example of ‘how the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.’
The organization said it hopes the incident serves as a ‘wake-up call’ for Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who recently vetoed a so-called constitutional carry bill that would have allowed adults to carry firearms without a license or training in Oklahoma.
Alex Speegle (pictured) was also shot. Bullet wounds to her collarbone and upper arm were mended with metal plates, while surgeons battled to fix the 14-year-old’s hand, which she was unable to move after a bullet hit a nerve