Dakota Longbrake’s first day as a fill-in Signal 88 patrol officer at Lake Cunningham in north Omaha, Neb., was definitely one he won’t soon forget. On November 11, Dakota with #205 Omaha started his designated patrol shift about noon at the 390-acre lake with its 1,050 acres of surrounding park.
Because of the expansive layout of the property, Dakota set out in a Signal 88 utility terrain vehicle (UTV) canvassing the area to check on daytime visitors—hikers, cyclists, anglers—and any concerns with the property itself. At about 2:10 p.m., Dakota spotted a maroon jacket along a remote trail. Thinking a cyclist may have dropped the jacket, Dakota stopped the UTV to pick up the jacket and bring it to the main office.
“I get out of the UTV and before I closed the door, I hear a groan. I thought, What in the world was that?” Dakota recalls. “I look over and see a guy with a bloodied face on the ground. I jump back in the UTV and grab my phone. At first, I thought maybe someone had beaten up the man. But then, I saw the gun. He had shot himself in the mouth with a Ruger .380. I immediately called 911 and informed them of what was going on.”
A woman on the trail had come across the wounded man a few minutes earlier and had already called 911. Dakota confirmed that an ambulance was on its way and knew the paramedics would not be able to drive through the rough lakeside terrain. Accelerating the UTV up to nearly 50 mph, Dakota hurried to meet the two medical responders at the campground entrance.
The three zoomed back in the UTV to the severely injured man. When they arrived, the man had pulled himself to a nearby bench. One of the paramedics grabbed the bloodied pistol, unloaded it and put in safely in the UTV’s glovebox. Dakota cleared out the bed of the UTV so the paramedics could lift the man into the vehicle.
Carefully yet swiftly, Dakota transported all three of them back to the ambulance about three-fourths of a mile away. Next, Dakota assisted police with blocking off the attempted suicide spot with caution tape and he began to field questions from police, the client and his Signal 88 team.
“The fact that the man used one of the smallest bullets you can get—and our quick response time—is probably what saved his life,” Dakota says of the harrowing experience. “Even an inch difference and he would have been dead.”
Dakota credits much his quick-action response to watching his paramedic and fireman father back in small-town Texas just north of Dallas. “Just seeing the response time of how quickly these guys get going, and actually having gone on a few calls with my dad, has definitely helped me,” Dakota notes. “My dad just jumps into action.”
Before Dakota wrapped up with police that November afternoon and cleaned and sanitized the UTV, his Signal 88 teammates were already checking on him. “Chris, whose shift I was on while he was out of town, asked me several times, ‘Are you sure you’re going to be OK?’ It’s good to know that I work for that kind of company. We look out for each other. If something major like that does happen, we check in on each other.”
Even the client, thanked Dakota for his excellent work. “We, at Lake Cunningham, are so grateful that he was here to help and do exactly what needed to be done,” Executive Director of the Lake Cunningham Trust, Brook Bench, shares. “Dakota was very humble about this and told us that all his training, working with his father on the fire department, helped him with this situation. Thanks Dakota!”
While Dakota remains low key about his actions that helped keep the man alive, his Signal 88 leaders remain grateful for Dakota’s steady character and seasoned skills.
“With Dakota’s overall training and specific patrol training, he was able to respond to the situation calmly and efficiently while also providing the victim, client and the paramedics all of the assistance they could need,” explains Signal Omaha’s Regional Operations Manager Nate Ridenour. “Dakota is just one of the most dedicated security guards I’ve had in a long time. He’s just a solid patrol officer. He shows up, he does the job and he does it right. In today’s staffing market, that’s just not easy to find.”
Thank you, Dakota, for your dedicated service in helping save a man’s life. For your quick actions and unshakable diligence, Signal 88 Security proudly awards you November Hero of the Month.