LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The active-duty soldier who stopped an active shooter on the Centennial Bridge described his split-second decision that police have said saved countless lives.
Leavenworth police were called to the bridge at 11 a.m. for a report of shots fired.
Master Sergeant David Royer said he was stuck in traffic on his way home, talking to his fiance through his Bluetooth speakers. That’s when he saw someone getting out of their car.
“The man pulled out a rifle and started aiming towards eastbound across the river toward the Missouri side and began to shoot off some rounds,” Sgt. Royer said.
He said he had gone through active shooter training before, which prepared him to assess the situation and take action.
“Immediately told my fiance to call 911, that there was an active shooter on the bridge, and I told her I had to go,” Sgt. Royer said. “I assessed the situation very quickly, looked around and just took the only action possible that I felt I could take, and I accelerated my truck as quickly as possible and struck the active shooter and pinned him under my truck.”
He said he then made sure the gun was away from the shooter and the threat was over. He then waited for first responders to arrive.
When officers arrived, they said they found a man with a gunshot wound and another man, who turned out to be the shooting suspect, trapped under a truck.
He said that, despite numerous calls of thanks and praise, he didn’t feel like a hero.
“Most people in my situation would have done the same thing,” he said. “I was ready to put myself in harms way. We’re trained for that.”
However, Leavenworth Police Chief Patrick Kitchens said his actions likely saved countless lives, and he should be honored for doing so.
“He won’t call himself a hero, but I will,” Kitchens said.
As for Sgt. Royer, he said he was just happy to make it back home at the end of the day.
“I just wanted to get back home, get everything back to normal, and get with my kids, give them a hug,” he said. “Then I went, I mowed my grass, ate dinner and spent time with my family. “