Posted at: 12/26/2012 4:29 PM
Updated at: 12/26/2012 5:33 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri
For the first time, News10NBC is hearing from a Greece Police officer who survived in the shooting in Webster Monday morning.
Officer John Ritter was just on his way to work when he came across the scene of the fire and shooting. He says he was driving down the road just seconds after the firefighters arrived and what happened next was something no one can prepare for.
Officer John Ritter, Greece Police, said, “This whole incident is a tragedy. I am a peripheral person in this. The true heroes in this whole event are the four fire fighters, Chip, Tomasz, Scardino and Hofstetter. Those people are people who get up in the morning and go to someone's house to help them. And for some unknown reason, some person decides he can do what he wants.”
John Ritter has worked with the Greece Police Department for almost 20 years. Monday morning, he left for work around 5:35am. Ritter takes Lake Road every day.
Ritter said, “As I come around the corner, I noticed the fire trucks are stopped on the south side of the road. At that point, I didn't see a fire and I didn't see any people. I started hearing popping noise which at that point I assumed was related to the fire. I pulled over to the north shoulder of the road to see if the firemen would direct me past or push me back. At which time there was a loud explosion and I looked at my windshield and there was a bullet hole right in front of me.”
Ritter say he immediately bent over, put his car in reverse and backed up a safe distance.
Ritter said, “I, again, heard multiple popping sounds which I assume are gun fire in my mind.”
Ritter says he stopped cars and firefighters from going down Lake Road.
Ritter said, “I said somebody's shooting, don't go down there. When it originally happened, I checked myself, but it wasn't until and I have no concept of time, some time after that, I was standing back at Bay and Lake Road and I noticed I was bleeding.”
Ritter was hit by glass in the arm and chest, but says he is feeling okay. He says he is still trying to process what happened on Christmas Eve.
Ritter said, “I have many different emotions ranging from guilt to happiness, cause I was home. I can't, I can't explain my emotions.”
Ritter said because he was in his personal car, he didn't have any weapons or a radio so trying to take down the shooter wasn't an option. But he did save lives by keeping people from going down the road.