ISLA VISTA, Calif. - A large banner has been set up in front of the Isla Vista Foot Patrol, thanking deputies for protecting the college town residents.
The sign with colorful, heartfelt messages is helping the law enforcement officers cope with Friday night's rampage.
"It's tough on us, it's tough on our families. We can't take back what we saw or what happened. It's definitely tough on everybody," said Deputy Neil Gowing.
Gowing was one of the first law enforcement officers to help with the shooting victims.
In less than 10 minutes, much of Isla Vista became a crime scene.
"It's scary. We get to know these kids getting to know them every weekend and we know a lot of them by name. So when something like this happens, we worry about the victims, who they are and if you know them," said Gowing.
Victoria Louis and Olivia Johnson were inside 7-11 Friday night when they heard the gunshots.
"All of a sudden we saw the I.V. Foot Patrol running across and everyone was instructed to get inside," said Johnson, a UCSB junior.
Those deputies seen running across the park, helped stop the shooter from killing anyone else.
"At that time we didn't realize how serious the situation was but after seeing all of it, it was really cool. We sat outside 7-11 for like two hours and just watched the cops monitor all the people and it was awesome," said Louis, also a UCSB junior.
"You can tell none of them wanted to be there for the reasons that they were there. They were just trying to help us out which was really nice," said Johnson.
Gowing said it is not a time for everyone to heal together and he appreciates how the community is thanking him.
"Hugs, lots of hugs," he said.
More than 100 students have signed the banner in front of the law enforcement building. Once the memorial at Harder Stadium let out, more than two dozen more students wrote words of gratitude.