Veteran Heroes, Victims of the Borderline Bar Shooting

By Faye Higbee

Thousand Oaks, California – Two Marines, one a victim of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting, and one a hero.  Marines know the sound of gunfire, especially in close quarters. When the sound erupted on Wednesday night, for one it was already too late, for the other, lives were at stake and he knew it.

Marine Hero Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly is a 22 year old Marine. When the gunfire broke out at Borderline Bar and Grill, he knew exactly what was happening. Partly from his Marine training and experience, and partly because he’d heard it before. Kelly was a survivor of the Las Vegas Route 91 shooting in 2017. He was a hero then, too.

The Marine Corps Times reported,

In the California shooting, like Vegas, Kelly’s Marine Corps training took over, he said. He threw people around him to the ground, and once he identified where the shooting was coming from grabbed the people closest to him and headed to the nearest exit.

Kelly told the Associated Press that he used his belt, the T-shirt off his back and his Marine Corps training to apply a tourniquet to a friend’s bleeding arm.

Kelly did what he had to do. The same was said for his actions in Las Vegas when he threw himself on top of  Renee Cesario, a woman he had just met, to shield her from the gunfire.

“There’s not time for emotions to be involved, you have to do. You have to act. Because people’s lives are on the line…Borderline was our safe space … for the probably 30 to 45 of us that were all from the Ventura County area that were in Vegas…
The only, only thing I can contribute to is God. His protective hand over me that night, on Oct. 1, and last night.” Brendan Kelly

Victim Dan Manrique

Dan Manrique was the much loved head of the Ventura, California, chapter for Team Red, White & Blue, according to the Marine Corps Times. He served with the 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, as a radio operator, and deployed to the Middle East in 2007 with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, according to the RWB website.

Team Red, White, and Blue is a veteran’s organization that seeks to enrich the lives of veterans through service and physical activity.

Facebook photo of Dan Manrique, Pacific Regional Program Manager for Team Red, White and Blue

 There were many other heroes, men who piled on top of the women to protect them from the gunfire until they heard a break and moved them out immediately to a safe location. Several off duty police officers shielded patrons. Overturned tables that provided temporary shielding, Barstools thrown through windows in an effort to get people out.  Heroes who realized that life and death stood before them and wanted to save as many as possible.

Borderline Bar and Grill was once their “safe place” where people felt like family.  Now, it’s a place of tragedy they can never forget. But Brendan Kelly did what normal Marines do – he saved lives. Semper Fi, Brendan.