Off-duty officer speaks publicly after self-defense shooting in - KCTV5 News

Off-duty officer speaks publicly after self-defense shooting in Lenexa Costco

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Kansas City, KS police Capt. Michael Howell was inside the store when Ronald Hunt began yelling and threatening customers. After a confrontation, Howell opened fire, killing Hunt. (KCTV5) Kansas City, KS police Capt. Michael Howell was inside the store when Ronald Hunt began yelling and threatening customers. After a confrontation, Howell opened fire, killing Hunt. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

The off-duty officer who shot and killed a man in the Lenexa Costco is talking for the first time publicly about what happened.

Kansas City, KS police Capt. Michael Howell was inside the store when Ronald Hunt began yelling and threatening customers. After a confrontation, Howell opened fire, killing Hunt.

When Howell came to the Costco, he was simply trying to get an electric fireplace with his friend who had a membership.

He had no idea that he would be putting his training in the Army and with the Kansas City, KS Police Department to use against an active shooter.

Now, he’s being credited with saving many lives with his heroic actions.

“I said, ‘Police! Drop the gun. Don't move.’ And when I said, ‘Police!’ a second time, he turned and pointed his pistol at me,” Howell said. “We train for this and you expect it to happen on duty, as a unit, as a team, and you practice and you talk about responding as a team to a store, a business, or what have you. But for it to happen in an off-duty situation, I don't want to say that it's a total surprise but it shocked me."

In those moments, Howell had to act, shooting and killing Hunt.

“When you're on duty, your team is there. You've got a partner who has a second set of eyes. You've got another radio, he's got his weapon. He's a witness. You've got your body armor, his body armor … on duty, you've got all of your equipment with you. In this off-duty scenario, it was him and I and that was it,” Howell said.

Still, Howell says, even if he didn’t have his weapon, he still would have tried to engage Hunt for one simple reason.

“I couldn't have let him kill people,” he said.

Howell said when he first saw Hunt with a gun, he felt like time stood still. But he says that in this situation, he knew it was his job to handle the threat.

Like any officer following an active shooter situation, Howell is humble about his heroics.

“I'm just a cop doing my job,” Howell said.

But to those that rushed out of the Costco on Nov. 26, he will always have a much bigger role in their lives.

“It looked like hundreds of people just started running by me. At first, my initial thought was this can't be real,” Howell said.

After that shooting, Howell says he called 911 to tell them what happened. He put his gun down and began to wait.

“Once I finished my conversation with the 911 operator, and I said I need a uniform in here now. It felt like forever. What I did not know is they were already at the door getting ready to make entry,” he said.

Howell has been back on duty since Sunday and has been applauded and called a hero from those outside the force and within. But from those that he works with, he always has the same reply.

“I'm like, you would have done the same thing if you'd have been there and I wasn't. Well, I know that but, and I said, ‘No, I'm just doing my job,’” Howell said.

Howell says the biggest thing this whole situation taught him was simple -- that training works.

More coverage:

Off-duty officer shoots, kills man who brandished gun at Lenexa Costco

22-year veteran of KCK police force kills armed assailant at Lenexa Costco

Police: Man killed in Lenexa Costco had no specific target 

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