Police Officer, Dispatcher Discuss Alrosa Villa Shootings

NBC 4 has issued the following report:

The Columbus police officer who ended a nightclub shooting rampage with one shot and the radio dispatcher who guided officers to the scene discussed the incident Monday with NBC 4.

A homemade video of the shooting was released Friday. The camera was positioned at the back right portion of the stage looking into the audience as Nathan Gale began shooting during the DAMAGEPLAN concert at Alrosa Villa on Dec. 8, 2004, NBC 4's Teresa Garcia reported.

When 911 calls came in to police, dispatcher Lisa Lee stayed calm through harrowing events.

"This is probably the worst situation dispatching I've ever been in," Lee said.

Lee, who was handling the radio channel for about 30 minutes, guided officers to the scene.

"Cars responding to the 43, your suspect is going to be a male white," Lee could be heard on audiotapes from the December shootings.

A camera the band had set up captured most of the five-minute shooting rampage. Gale shot and killed four people and injured three others before Columbus police Officer James Niggemeyer entered the building and killed him with one shotgun blast to the head.

Lee said she knew Niggemeyer entered the back of the nightclub alone. Hearing the words, "shots fired," she knew there could be danger.

"I went ahead and ordered an officer down in trouble call on him, because I wasn't sure if he meant they were firing shots at him," Lee said.

Niggemeyer said a group of people met him at the back of the building when he entered.

"They were yelling, 'Come back here because this is the stage where he's at. Come back here!' " Niggemeyer said.

Sure enough, it was in a rear corner of the stage where Niggemeyer was able to get one clean shot at Gale, Garcia reported.

"I could see he was holding a hostage around the neck and still had a gun, so I knew that I didn't want that hostage to be killed," Niggemeyer said.

"When he put the gun to the hostage's head, it became a now-or-never scenario," Niggemeyer said. "Do I let him shoot the hostage in front of everybody? Or do I take what I feel is the best shot to try to keep the hostage from being killed? ... It worked out for the best."

Niggemeyer said that while he was the first and only officer to enter the back of the club, he didn't act alone.

"That's where I have to thank all the other officers that came in the front, because I'm pretty sure that they kept his attention and allowed me to get as close as I did," he said. "And if it wasn't for those officers coming in the front, I don't know if he would've ever picked me off or not."

Niggemeyer said his mission was to save lives. He later found out that Gale had dozens of more rounds of ammunition.

"If I had to do it again, I had to do it," Niggemeyer said. "I took an oath to protect the public."

Watch the NBC 4 TV report featuring interview footage with Officer James Niggemeyer and dispatcher Lisa Lee at this location.


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