Community Marks 35 Years Since McDonald's Massacre in San Ysidro

Flowers were added to a memorial at the Higher Education Center at San Ysidro Thursday in honor of the victims of the mass shooting known by many as the "McDonald's Massacre."

Thousands of cars drive along San Ysidro Boulevard and most drivers probably don't realize the importance of one of the buildings along the busy street. 

The education center sits on the site of what was, for a time, the deadliest mass shooting in the United States. 

On July 18, 1984, James Oliver Huberty opened fire inside the McDonald's, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others.

The last active-duty firefighter who was present on that tragic day visited the memorial Thursday.

"I've worked through the grief, the closure and the trauma of what this event was," said San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief David Connor. He served in the area for more than five years.

"Every time I drive by this I understand what it is. I see what it's become," he said of the memorial.

McDonald's Massacre Memorial 07-18-16

While Connor was visiting the site, he met someone who lost a relative that day. The moment of healing for both men - the hero and the brother of one of those lost - was captured on camera.

Memo Flores of Chula Vista was visiting the site to honor his little brother.

He introduced himself and embraced Connor.  As they hugged, Flores told Connor he has lived each day to the fullest since the shooting. It taught him that you can't know what's in store for the future. 

Connor responded, "That's what we get dealt. That's what faith is. Faith is for a lot of things you don't understand." 

Flores never left the area and is now an educator at Otay Ranch High School. 

As for Connor, he's slated to retire sometime before next summer.

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