Marine veteran Brendan Kelly is either extraordinarily unlucky- or just so happens to have a penchant for being the right man at the right time and place.
Given both his faith and the fact that he survived two high-profile mass shootings, he may very well be both.
On Wednesday night, Kelly had been dancing for around an hour at the Borderline Bar and Grill -located in Thousand Oaks, California- when a fellow Marine veteran entered the establishment and began shooting.
“Being in the military, being in the Marine Corps, I’m aware of what that sounds like,” Kelly told ABC affiliates as he described the sound of gunfire. “Especially in an enclosed area.”
His military senses kicking in almost instantly, he immediately began gathering groups of people and getting them to safety.
“As soon as I identified where the target was, or where the threat was, I grabbed at least two people around me and yanked them as hard as I could to get to the nearest exit,” he said.
Kelly was no stranger to this kind of thing, regardless of how rare mass shootings actually are. In 2017, he survived the October Las Vegas shooting, when a gunman set up position in a high-rise hotel and opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest music festival.
Photos that began circulating after the Borderline showed Kelly with his shirt off, Eagle, Globe and Anchor tattoo on his chest. It was later discovered that the Marine veteran had used his belt and shirt to create tourniquets and bandages.
“I wanted to help as best I could,” Kelly said. “If we could be the first level of first responders before they got there, then you do all you can do instead of standing around not doing much.”
Kelly and other survivors of the Las Vegas shooting often frequented Borderline, which had become something of a retreat for them.
“It’s too close to home,” Kelly said. “Borderline was our safe space after, for lack of a better term, it was our our home for the probably 30 or 45 of us who are all from the greater Ventura County area who were in Vegas. That was our place where we went to the following week, three nights in a row just so we could be with each other.”
For Kelly, his survival was no coincidence.
“Only thing I can attribute it to is God,” Kelly said. “His protective hand over me that night, on October 1, and last night.”
Given his quick response that no doubt saved several lives, Kelly’s very presence may have been a form of divine intervention all its own.
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