Channel 11 News talked with a police sergeant who was one of the first responders to arrive at the Western Psychiatric Institute in Oakland when a man opened fire in the lobby earlier this month.
John Shick used two semi-automatic guns in the rampage, killing Michael Schaab, 25, of Edgewood, and injuring seven others, police said.
Sgt. Dan Papale was one of three University of Pittsburgh police officers who shot and killed Shick.
“I likened it to when you step in traffic in front of a bus ... catch yourself last second,” said Papale. “(It) could have gone horribly wrong.”
The gravity of the shooting didn’t sink in for Papale until hours after he shot Shick. Soon after the six-year veteran arrived for his shift, the 911 call came in that there was gunfire in the hospital lobby. Papale grabbed a rifle and was among the first group of officers to go inside.
“When we entered (the) lobby -- smoke, blood on (the) floor, chaos,” said Papale.
Papale said he went down a hallway and saw Shick in the lobby as Shick took cover behind two victims, including Schaab.
“I gave him commands: 'Stop, police. Don’t move,'” said Papale. “His hands went down behind the bodies; came back with guns in hand. (He) fired at us. I returned fire, striking and killing Mr. Shick.”
Papale hit Shick three times, killing him.
Papale, who is a firearms instructor, credits Pitt’s extensive training for enabling him to stop Shick before more lives were lost.
“Any officer would have done the same,” said Papale.