The Port Arthur News
Skyler Vyse wasn’t the least bit anxious when the call came in on June 30.
“My first thought was, ‘Can I go down there?’” said Vyse, 26, a Florida native and Boatswain Mate Third Class in the United States Coast Guard.
As they approached their destination, Vyse grew more apprehensive.
“I started tensing up,” he said.
On Thursday, Vyse and nine other members of the U.S. Coast Guard received Heroic Actions awards for their response to the grisly events of June 30 that left three people dead. At the time however, the Coast Guard knew there was an active shooter on McFaddin Beach. They knew there had been casualties. Beyond that, information was scant.
“We got the call around 4 p.m. and grabbed our guns,” said Shawn McCutchen, 28, a Florida native and maritime law enforcement specialist. Because of their location in Sabine Pass, the Coast Guard arrived at the scene within 10 minutes. A Port Arthur police officer was already there.
“They took control and helped us secure the area,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Mitch Woods. “They kept the crowd back.”
The Coast Guard found Lauren Brack, 31, of Groves, dead from a gunshot wound. Her shooter, Eric Barragan, 32, of Bridge City, was also dead, from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Deputy Nick Garsee performed CPR on a second victim, Regino “Gino” Maybit, 34, of Groves, for approximately 30 minutes before Maybit died from his wounds.
“All of them were invaluable that day,” Woods said.
That’s why Garsee, the members of the Coast Guard, and two Port Arthur Police Department officers received the awards.
“When a tragic event occurs, it brings us all together,” Woods said. “We have an invaluable partnership, and in instances like this, we realize what those partnerships mean.”
McCutchen, who said this was the first incident of its kind he has seen during his seven years with the Coast Guard, was appreciative, but nonchalant.
“We’re just out there doing our job,” he said.