I was a Security Policeman at Fairchild AFB on 20 JUN 1994, and responded to a call of "an individual in the hospital running around with a shotgun". (Later determined to be a MAK-90, AK-47 clone)
First on scene I confronted the killer outside the hospital and ordered him to drop his weapon but he continued toward me firing his rifle. I returned fire with my Beretta M9, ending his killing spree from a distance of about 70 yards.
In the years that followed, I experienced a multitude of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms. I was troubled that so many people were wounded and killed, people I had a duty to protect. Many others were similarly affected by the incident, citizens, medics, and cops.
There are many lessons to be learned from this incident. The biggest lesson I have learned, is to get counseling soon after a traumatic incident and never stop seeking peace. With the passage of time and perseverance, and programs offered by the Spokane VA, I have overcome most of my symptoms of PTSD. I may never be the same, but I am able to enjoy life again and in some ways I am stronger from the experience. If you are struggling with the aftermath of trauma, never stop the search for more complete healing and remember you are not alone on the path to recovery.
Learning from the history of incidents of mass public murder will help us prevent them. Until that time, the responsible, trained, armed citizen and the police must be ready to stop them. Learn from history, train and prepare, do not become complacent and trust your intuition.
Stay Aware, Stay Safe.
- Andy Brown