Adjunct instructor Tommy Mellana, whose primary employment is as a detective in the Cypress Police Department, received the California Peace Officer’s Association Award of Valor for his heroic response at last year’s Las Vegas shooting.
Detective Mellana, who teaches in Cypress College’s Administration of Justice Program, was honored in Sacramento on September 17 with Cypress Police Chief Rod Cox and Commander Steven Ramsey in attendance.
Although he is grateful for the recognition, Det. Mellana called the award “a tough pill to swallow” because of the significant loss of life — 58 people died in the October 1, 2017 shooting on the Las Vegas Strip and more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition were fired at attendees of the Route 91 Harvest music festival, held adjacent to Mandalay Bay.
“I was at the festival with family and friends when the mass shooting took place,” Det. Mellana said in an email. “I left the group I was with to assist in any way possible. That night I provided first aid to people that were wounded during the event.”
He noted that he was later reunited with everyone in his group and that all of them escaped injury. Many others he came across that night did not survive, including people he knew.
“However, I was able to save several victims that were shot by pulling them to cover and applying tourniquets and pressure to their wounds, which prevented them from bleeding to death,” Det. Mellana said. “After being in the venue for nearly one hour and helping dozens of people, I made it back to hotel and was reunited with my friends and family.”
While the circumstances are tragic, Cypress College President JoAnna Schilling, Ph.D. called Det. Mellana’s response “a true act of courage on his part.”