Letter from Dr. David Benke to the community.

Thank you so much for your love, support, strength, and help.  I have read every one of your letters and wish I could reply to everyone individually and at length.  It is just that I write very slowly.

We all do things for different reasons.  I went after the guy because I had promised my students that I would do something and as I told my brother I don’t like the idea of being a target.  Becky Brown came and got the gun away because she saw me wrestling with the guy.  She came toward the shooting and helped me like she would help one of her brothers.  Norm Hanne piled on top of the guy because he was going to protect students no matter what and he continued to help students after the shooter was handcuffed by getting them safe into a classroom.  Meanwhile I was walking around in the school office crying never thinking that there could be more shooters.  Two school bus drivers had come toward the shooter and were ready to help us if he should get away.  Jacquie Adkins helped Reagan get treatment for her wounded arm. When Becky saw that Norm and I had the shooter secured she went to kneel in the snow, held a critically wounded student's hand and kept talking with him while a parent who was an ER nurse suddenly appeared like an angel and began treatment.  Betty Miller helped Becky and the parent take care of Matt until the EMS arrived and he was taken away by ambulance.  Becky would have gone with him just as she would have her own wounded child if EMS technicians had let her.  Her flat statement summed up the feelings of the staff at Deer Creek when Matt, who was in a lot of pain, asked, "Am I going to die?" Becky replied, "Not on my watch." 

I did one thing that took an instant to decide and about 3 minutes of effort.  The rest of the faculty did things that were much braver.  They endured the “minutes like hours” waiting in classrooms with the lights off and the doors locked keeping kids quiet. Keeping the kids as safe as they could while the Jefferson County Sheriff’s officers cleared the school room by room.  I could see the shooter in front of me and I knew I could get to him before he reloaded.  The officers went into the school never knowing what was around the next corner or in the next cabinet.  I wrestled one man who I could see and touch.  The rest of the faculty wrestled with waiting and not knowing.

Everyone responded the way they could and should.  But the big thing was the attitude that Becky encapsulated in her statement and in Rob’s and her leadership.

If we could have told the students what we felt before the incident happened we would have said,

"Not on my watch. On my watch you are going to be as safe as I can make you."


Dr. David Benke