Wheeling Police say it’s no surprise that the officers who were gunned down were running toward the shooters in an effort to protect the public when they were shot.
They say that’s what they’re trained to do.
Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says he started watching the coverage last night and says police officers never go to work, hoping to shoot or kill someone, but they are trained to respond in a millisecond.
He was most impressed by images of officers keeping the scene secure afterward, in the face of extreme adversity.
“They’re still there. They’re guarding a crime scene or something like that with a group of our nation’s citizens standing in front of them and pointing cameras and phones at them and yelling at them, berating them, trying to bait them, I guess, I cannot imagine. Look at the restraint that is shown, and that is every day,” Chief Schwertfeger.
“You’ll see three or four police officers on a call but that’s because we don’t know at this point what these people’s intents are, is there going to be an ambush, and the more eyes that are available, the better off it is and that way we can make sure everybody stays safe if we’ve got eyes there to make sure nobody’s going to sneak out from behind a tree or behind a car and try to ambush a police officer,” explained Private First Class, Garrett Pugh.
Chief Schwertfeger says they department has many supporters, who have already reached out to them. He received flowers and a card from one family, and an offer of lunch from an organization in Wheeling.
He says this is a sad day, but he looks forward to a time of less tensions and more understanding.