CHICAGO (CBS)–In an emotional Facebook post from Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman that appeared Tuesday, she she expressed the angst her community has been feeling since a gunman opened fire in a meeting Friday at Henry Pratt factory, killing five people and injuring five police officers.
“I said his name one time for the media, and I will never let it cross my lips again,” Ziman wrote. “It’s been 96 hours since I heard the call go out over our radios and listened to the incident unfold. I was on my way to the scene when I listened to the first officer advise he’d been shot. And then the next one. And then everything went dark around the edges.”
She wrote of the bravery displayed by the officers who stormed the building after getting calls of shots being fired inside.
“Every time an officer was hit, another went in. No one retreated. They forged ahead with shields and weapons as true warriors do and no one backed down until the threat was eliminated. We learned right away that there were casualties and I can’t tell you how hard it was to hear that we were too late to save them. Every officer will carry that heaviness with them. It becomes a part of them now.”
She continued, “The officers who were shot that day put their own lives at risk to save others. They are what it means to be a warrior. Those who were in the gunfight and those who stood ready to battle are just as worthy of the term “hero.” I have never been prouder to serve the men and women of APD as I was on that Friday afternoon. Warriors only pick up their swords to protect those they love from harm. The love our officers have for this community has never been more apparent.”
Ziman thanked the Aurora community for supporting police following the tragedy.
“Our police department and our city have been inundated with support by way of food, flowers, letters, and well wishes. On behalf of the men and women of the Aurora Police Department, we are grateful to those of you who have gently placed your hands on our backs. We feel it.”
She said she could feel the pain of the families of the victims:
“When I looked into the faces of the victim’s family members yesterday, I felt the pain of their profound losses. I told them our officers tried to save their loved ones. I know they know that, but I also know it’s not good enough. It wouldn’t be for me either.”
The loss would have a lasting impact on the people of Aurora, she said.
“Our city will never be whole again. We’ve lost human beings, and the void they leave can never be filled. But we are the people of Aurora, and we have always been survivors. Every single one of us will wrap our loving arms around the families of Clayton, Trevor, Russell, Vicente, and Josh and we hold on tight.”