COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – In the wake of a mass shooting at an Oklahoma medical center, an officer who responded to a triple shooting at a Columbus hospital reflects on lessons learned 14 years after the tragedy.
A recent string of mass shootings has renewed debates over gun control. The latest incident to capture national attention, a shooting at a medical complex in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 14 years ago a Columbus hospital was under fire for a very similar reason.
What was called Doctors Hospital back in 2008, is now Piedmont Columbus Regional.
On March 27, Charles Johnston, walked into the hospital and opened fire, fatally shooting a nurse, another hospital employee, and a man outside of the hospital. Police believe Johnston was holding a grudge over his mother’s death at the hospital years earlier.
When city Deputy Marshal Alicia Davenport got the call about an active shooter, she was closest to the scene and the first to respond.
“I responded that I was at the location to dispatch and my captain responded back to me, and it took off from there, before I could give any more information and he was communicating to me and my next response is letting him know shots were fired.”Alicia Davenport – First to respond to Columbus 2008 shooting
Back in 2008, Davenport told News 3, “He looked right at me in my eyes, and he just opened fire on me.”
It’s been 14 years, but the memory of that day lives on. Davenport says, “I can remember pretty much everything from that day like it happened yesterday.”
In a 2008 interview with News 3, Davenport said she took a deep breath and relied on her training, while also thinking of her three little girls, ages 2, 8, and 11.
“My main thought was Alicia make sure you go home tonight to your children, cause you’re all they have, I’m all they have.”Alicia Davenport – First to respond to Columbus 2008 shooting
And 14 years later Davenport says it makes being here to watch her daughters grow up even sweeter, knowing her life could have been taken.
“Just looking at how small my girls were, I did, and I’m just happy to be here and to look at my daughters now and see their transition and I just saw how close I was to not being able to see the things that they’ve done. Like graduating from high school and going on to the military… Like some of the people that did not survive that day. They’re not able to be there with their children anymore.”Alicia Davenport – First to respond to Columbus 2008 shooting
Victims like 44-year-old Pete Wright who was the targeted nurse at Doctors Hospital. Davenport thinks of his family often.
“Pete Wrights Daughter, I believe she was 16 years old when this happened and I always thought about how she’s handling it now and what’s happened to her since then.”Alicia Davenport – First to respond to Columbus 2008 shooting
Davenport says the shooting caused her to reflect on her training and the oath taken by law enforcement to strap on a bulletproof vest every morning and put their lives on the line.
The Tulsa Hospital Shooting on June 1st claimed the lives of 2 doctors and 2 civilians. Police say the gunman, who ultimately killed himself, was taking his anger out on a surgeon.
Davenport says the hospital shooting made her slow down and remember that you’re never too rushed to tell your family and friends just how much you love them.