First responders deal with tragic memories - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

First responders deal with tragic memories

By Stefane Silvey
Posted by Mike Mardis

The workers at Atlantis and first responders will be haunted by what happened Wednesday.

Chief Paramedic Brad Ayer was one of the first on the scene of the mass shooting at Atlantis Plastics.

"All of us who responded can't react like human beings, or we couldn't do it," Ayer said.

He said it will be a hard thing to forget.

"When I'm alone I still picture it," Ayer said.

He said they were the worst images he's ever seen in his 15 years on the job.

Sergeant John Nevels of the Henderson Police Department said it's hard to imagine yourself in a situation like the one at Atlantis Plastics.

"Those people go in there and you can imagine what they were thinking," Nevels said. "They were unarmed in a situation where there is six people suposedly murdered."

Nevels said, considering the chaos surrounding the event, the ambulance service, fire department and police department worked tremendously together.

"When i got the phone call a few minutes after it happened at my house...my first response was, 'Is this some kind of cruel joke?'" Nevels said.

When responders arrived, all but two of those shot were still alive needing immediate attention. But eventually all but one would die, which is difficult for those doing their best to save them.

"Everybody deals with these sorts of things in their own way," Chief Terry Lewis, HFD, said. "Those who we talked to seem to be doing okay."

Many of those people had to go right back to work responding to other emergency calls.

"the next person that calls needs my help just as bad," Ayer said.

All agencies plan to or already have had debriefings, not only to help deal with the grief, but also to learn from the situation for the next unfortunate tragedy.

The only survivor was transported to the hospital with her brother who died of a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Ayer said that was a difficult time comforting her when he knew her brother was dying.

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