SAN DIEGO -
The San Diego Police officer who risked his own life to help rescue two San Diego County Sheriff's deputies who were under fire in Lakeside is a reluctant hero.
The officer – whose name has been published – does not want his name or likeness listed in media accounts, according to a police spokesperson, because of concerns about his safety and that of his family. 10News is respecting that request.
The officer is a 9-year veteran with the department who is a member of the elite S.W.A.T. team and is also part of the Gang Suppression Unit, according to sources.
He is described as humble, polite and mild-mannered but one officer who knows him said he is like Clark Kent, capable of turning into Superman.
The officer was on his way to work in his marked patrol car when he heard gunfire. He immediately took action, working with deputies to devise and execute a plan to rescue Sgt. Craig Johnson and Detective Ali Perez, who had both been hit by gunfire.
According to a police spokesperson, the officer said he is not a hero, claiming he did what 100 other officers would have done under the same circumstances.
Meanwhile, in Lakeside, an apartment complex near where the shootings occurred hosted a celebration and thank you event for the deputies who were injured.
The event was held in lieu of a safety meeting where Johnson was expected to speak.
"It's just a small world," said Lora Morel, who organized the event. Morel explained that when she called to confirm Johnson's participation in the safety meeting, she learned he was one of the deputies who was gunned down.
Children used markers and paintbrushes to draw pictures and write get well messages to Johnson and Perez. One wrote, "Thank you for protecting us from danger."
Twelve-year old Ernesto Covarrubias drew a picture of a sheriff's helicopter. When asked about the deputies who were injured he said, "They got shot and it's not really fair because they're helping our city."
The 8-foot banners were taken to the deputies' hospital rooms and posted on the walls.