The black-clad gunman coming through the Colorado church door was bringing hell to the believers, says the Rocky Mountain News. The only thing in his way was Jeanne Assam. “People were running away from where the shots were fired. I saw him through the chaos,” Assam said yesterday as she searched for some of the calm that carried her through the nightmare that played out inside New Life Church the day before. “It seemed like it was me, the gunman and God,” said Assam.
A witness close enough to be hit by a bullet fragment credits Assam with saving lives. “She kept yelling, ‘Surrender.’ She was not flinching. It was unbelievable,” said Larry Bourbonnais. The gunman had fatally wounded two teenage girls in the parking lot before entering the building. New Life Pastor Brady Boyd said, if the attacker had made it another 60 feet down the hall, he could have shot hundreds of parishioners still inside. A former officer with the Minneapolis police, Assam, 42, delivered her story with the clipped understatement of a street cop. Lt. Robert Kroll, vice president of the Minneapolis Police Union, confirmed that Assam was fired over “truthfulness issues.” Assam had denied she used derogatory language in an encounter with a citizen in the late 1990s, but a videotape proved differently.