I know several cops. Good ones. Honest men with decent hearts. They never want to have to use their guns, but if the situation calls for it, they will.
I don’t suspect James Niggemeyer wanted to kill Nathan Gale, but he did. He had to. With a single bullet to the head.
The Columbus, Ohio, police officer was the first on the scene at the venue where the crazed Gale went on a rampage, shooting and killing four people, including former Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott.
Ten years later, that day continues to haunt Niggemeyer, who was pulled off patrols seven years ago and made a detective in his department’s robbery division.
“I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety disorder,” Niggemeyer said in an interview.
“I found out real quickly that you don’t have any control over your brain. It’s going to do what it’s going to do. Cops are regular human beings. Things affect us the same way they affect everyday citizens. We relive it and have to deal with the aftermath.”
Niggemeyer, 41, has had a nonpolice job with the city for the past three years and is “still in counseling.”
The shooting, he said, “changed my career path — not for the better, certainly. I’m happy to have been able to end the situation with no further tragedies after I arrived, but it certainly hasn’t made my life any better.”
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