Saturday, December 11, 2004

Quick Actions Saves Lives at the Alrosa

I've held off commenting on the shooting at the Alrosa Villa for a couple days now as I try to find something reasonable to say about it. Somethings there just isn't anything reasonable to say about unreasonable acts.

The Alrosa was a dark, grungy, loud club that has a history of bringing up-and-coming bands to a small club.

Today's Dispatch has an article on the officer who shot the suspect and how procedural changes made after Columbine probably save many lives.

Before the shootings at Columbine, in which students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 other students and one teacher before killing themselves, police were taught to wait for their tactical teams and hostage negotiators before entering.

In the chaos of that day, teacher David Sanders bled to death while police outside waited for the command to go in...

Because of it, police philosophy has changed. "You have to go save lives," Wood said.

Niggemeyer and his fellow officers had a couple of seconds to ask concert fans who were running out of the building any basic questions: Where’s the shooter? What’s he look like? What’s he wearing? What kind of gun does he have? And once inside, they had to listen for shots and look for blood and the shooter.

Looking for cover is not part of the program. "The training is to go directly to the bad guy and stop him from killing people," Wood said. "You have bullets, you have a bulletproof vest and you have a guy killing people."

"It’s a scary thought, but when you’re training to save people’s lives, you have to do that."

Officer Niggemeyer was on the scene within 2 minutes of the 911 calls and immediately went inside the building to confront the shooter. Who knows how many others would have been shot without his quick selfless actions.