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Local police chief reacts to Colorado shooting; reflects on responding to Virginia Beach 2019 mass shooting

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:25 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - On Monday, a gunman in Boulder, Colorado, opened fire in a grocery store, killing ten people, including a Boulder police officer.

This mass shooting is now the second to hit our country in less than a week. Both shootings leave local law enforcement officials in the East reeling.

Chief Patrick Gallagher is the new police chief in New Bern, sworn-in over the weekend. He’s no newcomer to law enforcement with a career spanning 30 years.

Chief Gallagher comes to Eastern North Carolina from Virginia Beach, Virginia, which dealt with gun violence in 2019 when a shooter killed 12 people at the Virginia Beach city public works building.

“May 31st, 2019 is indelibly marked in my mind,” said Chief Gallagher.

Chief Gallagher says the Colorado shooting news took him back to that day he responded to the mass shooting in Virginia Beach.

Gallagher says that day will never leave him, explaining, “The sights the sounds, the looks on faces of the victims that survived, or who were impacted because of their injuries will never leave my mind.”

He says this horrific violence is a solemn reminder that officers in every town and city around the country need to be prepared.

“I commit that the men and women of this police department will be trained and ready to respond in the event that that shadow befalls New Bern, and I pray that it never does come here,” said Gallagher.

While the City of Boulder and the rest of the nation cope with what happened, Gallagher says his prayers are with the victims.

“I am saddened to once again add another city to a fraternity of cities that have dealt with this, and I grieve for the families, and I grieve for those who have lost loved ones,” Gallagher said.

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