On the morning of May 27, Master Sgt. David Royer rammed his car into an active shooter on a bridge connecting Kansas to Missouri, according to police. According to Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens, the 34-year-old soldier was stuck in traffic behind the gunman when the gunman stepped out of his vehicle and opened fire. The incident took place around 11 a.m. and police arrived shortly after, according to Kitchens.
“Most people in my situation would have done the same thing,” Sergeant Royer said in an interview with WTAE.
In an interview with the New York Times, Sergeant Royer said he was on the phone with his fiancée when the gunman got out of his car and started shooting. Sergeant Royer then told his fiancée to call 911 and slammed his foot on the gas to ram into the shooter. “I wasn’t necessarily frightened,” Sergeant Royer told reporters. “I was shocked that it was happening and the adrenaline took over and, with the military training that I’ve received, I took appropriate action and took out the threat.”
“He intentionally intervened using his vehicle to strike and injure the suspect who was actively shooting,” Kitchens said. “Very likely countless lives were saved by the person that intervened and helped.”
Police Initially Responded To Reports of Road Rage on Centennial Bridge
According to DailyMail, police arrived on the scene around 11 a.m. amid reports of shots fired in relation to a road rage incident on Centennial Bridge. Instead, first responders discovered the suspect trapped under Sergeant Royer’s car, according to Kitchens. The suspect was seriously injured and taken to a hospital in the Kansas City area for his wounds.
According to Kitchens, at the time of the incident, some lanes on Centennial Bridge were blocked off and traffic was controlled by a work crew. The crew was alternating the direction of traffic. After first responders arrived, the bridge was closed for several hours as police investigated the scene. Centennial Bridge is a 2500-foot bridge on Kansas Highway 92 that spans the Missouri River, connecting Leavenworth, Kansas, to Platte County, Missouri.
Police Credit Sergeant Royer’s With Saving ‘Countless Lives’
Authorities claim that Sergeant Royers, who has served in the army for 15 years and is based at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leavenworth, likely prevented a mass shooting, according to NBC News. According to reports, the gunman was armed with at least a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun, and he was firing at random at passing cars. Police are still investigating to determine how many weapons were involved in the shooting.
“…what was a very, very dangerous situation, fortunately, was ended quite quickly. Again, very likely countless lives were saved by the person that intervened and helped,” said Kitchens.
Police confirmed that several cars were struck with bullets, according to DailyMail. One shooting victim, also a Fort Leavenworth soldier, was taken to the hospital for his wounds and is in serious but stable condition, according to the New York Times. After interviewing roughly a dozen witnesses, police believe the shooting was not targeted and the gunman fired at random, according to Kitchens in a report from NBC News.
The gunman and the victim have not yet been identified, and police have not yet determined a motive. The suspect was described as a 37-year-old resident of Platte County, Missouri. Police have obtained warrants to search the suspect’s home and vehicles to gather more information. Authorities are still determining whether the suspect’s weapons were purchased legally and have not yet confirmed if he has a criminal history or a history with mental health.