Saturday shooting could have ended up a lot worse

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2006

Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief after members of Greenville's police force exchanged gunfire with a man at a local hotel resulting in the wounding of two officers and the death of the man who apparently started the incident.

While we would have hoped matters could have been resolved with an outcome other than someone being killed and wounded, it could have been much worse, considering a gun fight with a man who apparently had failing mental capacity took place in a crowded hotel.

Had it not been for the bravery of officers Lionel Davidson, Matt Bass and Byron Russell who first responded to 911 calls of a man with a gun at the Comfort Inn, the gunman could have taken hostages or worse, gone room-to-room shooting people. It truly is a blessing that more people where not injured or killed considering the circumstances.

As the series of events unfolded it was obvious to us that our law enforcement officers acted bravely and in the best interests of the people they serve. While all of the details that led to the shootings have yet to be released, early indications are our officers acted bravely and responsibly in seeking to resolve the situation in a peaceful manner. It seems as though the gunman made the decision to pull the trigger on the officers first, ultimately leading to his own death.

As our police force evaluates the series of events that led to the shootings, it's obvious to us the Special Response Team that was formed last year was worth the investment in time, training and money. While they did not have to engage the gunman, we commend the city and Police Chief Lonzo Ingram for having the foresight to see an incident such as this as a possibility and put together a top-notch team of law enforcement officers to deal with it.

It's a dangerous world we live in and our law enforcement officers need all the resources available to keep themselves and us safe against people bent on wrecking havoc on our community.

We encourage the city to analyze Saturday's events and make the investment, if needed, in the equipment or manpower needed to efficiently and safely deal with this type of situation again.

As Hurricane Ivan taught us, we need to be prepared for the worst. Even if it never happens.