This security guard said he wasn't scared when he decided to drive into the path of an oncoming terrorist.
Santiago Cueva, a 27-year-old man living in Sweden, had just finished having lunch with a coworker and was sitting in his van outside of a department store when he noticed another lorry van driving erratically and headed straight towards Swedish Parliament.
The lorry was mowing down everything in its path and not obeying any street laws despite being on a busy city street, Drottninggatan, making it clear to Cueva that something was amiss and causing him to react quickly to the deadly situation.
“First I saw the lorry smash through lamp-posts, benches and flowerpots. Then I saw people flying into the air,” he told the Daily Mail. “I felt certain that the lorry was going to continue down Drottninggatan straight towards Parliament. The driver’s aim was clearly to continue down the entire street and hit Parliament.”
Given the recent terrorist attacks that have occurred in the European nations, many of which resemble the one that was occurring right in front of Cueva, he knew that he needed to act or else he would witness an even more gruesome sight by allowing the terrorist to continue.
Suddenly fueled by adrenaline, Cueva hit the gas pedal in his van and headed directly to the area that the lorry was pointed in an effort to completely derail the vehicle. Though he knew it was a dangerous endeavor, he knew what he was doing was right.
“I was not scared,” he said. “It was actually a strange feeling when it happened. The lorry was coming towards me and all my focus was on helping protect people in some way. So I drove my van in front of it in order to stop it from getting any further”
His efforts paid off, as the driver of the vehicle instead veered off and ran into the Åhlens department store that Cueva had just been parked in front of. In all the panic, with injured and dead people lying on the ground and people trying to film or take pictures, the driver of the vehicle was able to escape by integrating with the crowds and running off with them.
Cueva didn’t bother himself with apprehending the driver, though; instead, he jumped out of his van and ran to help people that had been injured and urged bystanders to evacuate the area.
“Me and a couple of security guards agreed that we needed to get people out of there. We didn’t know how uncertain the situation was. We all felt that we were trying to make an effort to save people in case there was a bomb in the lorry,” said Cueva.
Despite initially escaping the police, the 39-year-old suspect, Rakhmat Akilov, was caught and has since admitted that he was in the midst of committing an act of terror when he veered off the road. He is responsible for the death of four people on that fateful day, but it’s like that he could have killed dozens or even over a hundred people had he been allowed to continue for the 550 meters left until he reached parliament.
Cueva doesn’t consider himself a hero, and he knows it was his duty to intervene to save the lives of others. Instead, he humbly said,
“At least it feels good that I tried to do something about it.”