Hero Who Stopped Lake Hefner Shooter Says He Just Wanted To Help
The hero who stopped the gunman who opened fire on patrons at Louie's Grill and Bar at Lake Hefner says he simply wanted to help.
Bryan Whittle, an 18-year National Guardsman, says he and his wife were driving to Lake Hefner to do some fishing when he saw a commotion by Louie's. He thought someone was drowning, so he pulled over and reached for his first aid kit. That’s when someone told him a girl had been shot.
"I said OK she's been shot and they said yeah and the gentleman said, and the shooter, he's right there." Whittle recalled.
Whittle says he put down the first aid kit and asked his wife to pass him his gun. He told his wife he loved her, then engaged the gunman ordering him to drop his weapon .
"I was really focused on his hands so much that once I'd yelled so many times and it just wasn't happening I looked up and I saw that he had ear protection on," Whittle said.
That’s when he and the gunman, Alexander Tilghman, made eye contact. "It was almost like he was looking through me like almost I was there but like there was almost like someone else he was focused on.” Whittle said, "He tilted his head and started raising his weapon up. I dove on the ground. As I'm sitting there on the ground, it was real slow motion at that point, I remember thinking, get up. You're not gonna die here. Engage this guy. Because he's going to be coming at you."
Whittle moved around the truck he was hiding behind. He struggled to say it, but he says he had to shoot the gunman.
"I don't recall how many times or anything. I just remembered I continued to do that until I saw him fall down," Whittle said.
Whittle says he prays for the people who were hurt, but he also prays for the gunman, who he says clearly had mental issues.
"It's uh, it's not always easy to see somebody in a situation where they need help and they're maybe not getting it," Whittle said.