JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sailors from Southeast Regional Maintenance Center (SERMC), who were participating in a school beautification project, quickly reacted to ensure all participants were safe after gunshots were fired near Justina Road Elementary School, April 27, in Jacksonville, Fla. Fourteen Sailors from SERMC, along with several area volunteers, participated in an Earth Day cleanup at Justina Road Elementary School when, around 2 p.m., they heard gunshots in close range of the school.
"After I heard the first shots, my instincts and training kicked in, and I told everyone to get behind the school building for cover and safety," said Navy Diver 1st Class Daniel Mulbach, assigned to SERMC's dive locker division.
Children from the school, along with their parents, were also participating in the event. The school's principal and assistant principal present as well.
Immediately after the shots were fired, a Sailor from SERMC quickly called 911. While waiting for the police to arrive, the volunteers continued to hear shots being fired in the area. As the sound of shots grew closer, Mulbach ordered everyone inside the school and secured the doors.
While waiting on local law enforcement to arrive, several Sailors helped ensure everyone was safe inside the school. Shortly after dispatched, police showed up, conducted a patrol, and declared the area around the school safe. At this time, no arrests have been made. Mulbach and the other Sailors involved do not want the shootings to distract from the volunteer work performed that day.
"I'm not a hero. I didn't do anything that anyone else wouldn't have done in my situation. I am just looking forward to the next time we can volunteer to help the school," said Mulbach. "I don't want this weekend to be remembered for the gunfire, but instead all the beauty that we tried to bring to the school. I hope it has a lasting impact, not violence," said Navy Diver 1st Class John Doran, also a volunteer from SERMC's dive locker division.
"I just wish I could have seen the look on the kids' faces this morning when they saw their new school playground," said Doran.