Parole agent earns Corrections Dept. medal of valor for stopping active shooter

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A local hero is gaining some well-deserved recognition. Local parole agent Luis Cardenas never imagined he would need to stop an active shooter one Monday afternoon last December. Cardenas was checking on a parolee near the Walmart on Fashion Plaza in East Bakersfield.

“When I arrived I was waiting for the ankle monitor to give me an updated position so I could contact him,” said Agent Cardenas. “When I was standing at a higher ground than the Walmart, I heard two shots ring out.”

That’s when Cardenas jumped into his patrol car and drove towards the sound of gunfire in the parking lot.

“I notified dispatch for Bakersfield Police that I was approaching a the scene of a possible shooting,” said Cardenas.

That’s when he saw a man with a gun.

“I saw an individual holding a revolver. I was able to get him to the ground,” said Cardenas. “He was very compliant. I recovered the weapon.

But that wasn’t the shooter. Records say the gunman, identified as 31-year-old Rodolfo Romo, threw his gun on the ground after shooting into the air. First responders say the gun malfunctioned.

(Luis Cardenas/ Parole Agent, California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
Luis Cardenas: “I was approached by people saying there was another individual inside that had run in and fired a weapon.”

Cardenas ran into the store, as shoppers ran for their lives.

“Saw the individual that matched the description. He eventually put his hands in the air and he went to the ground,” said Cardenas. “That’s when I got back on the radio and notified the dispatch ‘I had one on the ground at gunpoint. And I was going to hold my position, not knowing if there were others in the store.'”

Bakersfield police officers finally arrived and placed Romo under arrest.

“Nobody was hurt,” said Cardenas. “That’s the best part.”

Cardenas will be awarded awarded the California Department of Corrections’ medal of valor. That’s the organization’s highest honor. The award ceremony will take place Friday morning at 10. You can watch it here.

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