HESSTON, Kansas – Hesston Police Chief Doug Schroeder issued his first statement Tuesday, nearly two weeks after a deadly shooting at Excel Industries in Hesston.
Schroeder is the one who shot and killed the gunman suspected of killing three people and wounding 14 more. Investigators say about 300 people were in the factory at the time of the shooting.
Schroeder said that any police officer would have acted as he did in those circumstances. He said God had prepared him throughout his life and career to deal with that situation.
Here is the statement from Schroeder:
The events of this past week have devastated our small community—a community with which I have a strong personal connection. I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims. No one should have to go through the pain they have experienced. I pray God’s comfort surrounds them as they begin to heal. There is a difficult road ahead for so many people, but it is one they won’t be walking alone.
I feel God has prepared me throughout my life and career for these events. I am not a hero. I know hundreds of law enforcement officers, each one of them with a different skill set, personality and abilities. I can’t think of one officer who wouldn’t have done the same thing I did. I am so proud of my brothers and sisters in Harvey County Communications, law enforcement, and EMS. As it is written in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
I am also proud of and thankful for the Excel employees. I was provided valuable information as I was trying to locate the shooter inside the facilities. Some helped direct me toward the shooter. I have also heard stories about employees helping each other to safety and rendering aid to the injured.
Although I have over a hundred first responders and crisis management personnel to thank individually, I would like to mention a few key individuals who played extremely valuable roles during the crisis and shortly thereafter. I would like to thank Hesston Mayor David Kauffman; City Administrator Gary Emry; Newton Police Department Deputy Chief Craig Dunlavy; Newton Police Department Cpl. Brian Rousseau; Harvey County Emergency Management Director Gary Denny; Hesston Police Sergeant Chris Carter; and Harvey County Sheriff T. Walton. The leadership, composure and compassion of these individuals during a very stressful time minimized the negative outcome of this situation.
The citizens of Hesston, Newton and Harvey County are resilient. No one had to ask for an extra measure of patience with each other; they just gave it. Thank you for the support and caring you have shown me and my family. I look forward to returning to a leadership role in the community as we all begin to heal.”