A police chief’s account of a mass shooting.

On February 15, 2019, Aurora, Illinois had a mass shooting that left six people dead and six injured (including five police officers).

Kristen Ziman was Chief of Police at the time.

What follows is a lightly edited excerpt from Chief Ziman’s newly released book, Reimagining Blue:  Thoughts on Life, Leadership, and a New Way Forward in Policing.

Commander Cross was driving, and Commander Jack Fitchtel was in the back seat. 

We knew from 9-1-1 calls that the shooter was likely a guy who had just been terminated from a manufacturing plant. 

I remember hearing Officer Russel say over the radio that Officer Gomez had been shot, but they hadn’t determined where the shooter was. 

Officer Cebulski and Officer Weaver were inside the building near the victims when the shooter came up the stairs and opened fire, striking Officer Cebulski. 

This shot wasn’t enough to incapacitate him, so the shooter took cover in a vestibule and waited in an ambush position for more officers to come… 

I heard Officer Rey Rivera yell, “DOOR 14—HE’S SHOOTING OUT OF DOOR 14.” 

The officers began to move toward the door, and that’s when Officer Rivera was shot. 

Then Officer Zegar. 

Then Officer Miller…

Then I received a text message from my wife that simply read, “I’m going in.” 

The shooter was still on the loose, and Officer Chris Tunney was with one of the Rescue Task Force teams that deployed for a grid search…

I read her text, stopped what I was doing for a moment to comprehend the magnitude of what could happen and responded, “Go find that motherfucker.”

Our September training will be a live interview with Chief Kristen Ziman.



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