The three people credited with subduing an armed student and preventing the shooting at Taft Union High School from becoming much worse received another thank you this week. Taft High teacher Ryan Heber and campus supervisors Kim Fields and Mary Miller received copies of the remarks read into the Congressional record by Senator Barbara Boxer in early February.
Boxer staffer Akeem Kahn travelled to Taft Tuesday afternoon to present the statements to the trio and also presented a flag that has flown over the United States Capitol to the school.
“Senator Boxer wanted to give it to the school to honor and thank these three educators for their courageous efforts to protect their students,” said Zachary Coile, another Boxer aide.
Heber was the teacher in the class on the second floor of the TUHS science building on Jan. 10 when suspect Bryan Oliver allegedly walked into the room about 9 a.m. carry a shotgun.
“This was a tragic attack, and it is terrifying to think that it could have been even worse had it not been for the brave, swift actions of Taft science teacher Ryan Heber, and campus supervisors Kim Fields and Mary Miller,” Boxer said in her statement in the Congressional Record. “When the shooting started, Mr. Heber responded immediately. After ushering his other students out of harm’s way, he began talking the shooter into ceasing his attack. Mr. Fields, who rushed to the classroom when he heard gunfire, joined Mr. Heber in persuading the attacker to put down his gun and surrender to police when they arrived on the scene. Meanwhile, Ms. Miller stayed calm and made sure that students quickly and safely evacuated the classroom.”
Oliver, who has been charged with attempted murder and several other felonies, is accused of shooting Bowe Cleveland and threatening another student.
All three were modest about their actions that day.
“This is very nice of Mrs. Boxer and her staff to recognize us,” Fields said. “ It's very kind of her. We're just on the school grounds to protect the kids.” He said he doesn't feel like a hero.
“I was just in the right place at the right time.”
Heber was also very low key, as was Miller.
“I think it's really cool,” said Heber. “It's a nice thing to receive recognition.”
“I think its very nice,” said Miller. “You just do what you've got to do – nothing out of the ordinary. I don't feel like a hero.”