Police officer injured in deadly shooting reflects on fallen fellow officer

“I always try to keep the focus on Sgt. Risner because his family lost a loved one,”
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 9:01 PM CST
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SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) - “I am very fortunate that I had a vest to stop those two rounds that hit me in the chest and to see my wife and kids at the hospital was a very moving moment,” said Sheffield Lt. Max Dotson.

Oct. 1, 2021, rocked the Shoals community, but especially the lives of Lt. Max Dotson, his family and Sgt. Nick Risner’s family.

“At the same time having to see Nick’s wife at the hospital in an unknown condition was heartbreaking,” said Dotson.

It’s the day investigators say Brian Martin went on a crime spree. He’s accused of killing William Mealback and Sgt. Nick Risner and shooting Lt. Dotson.

Most of the spree happening in the Muscle Shoals Walmart parking lot — an area Dotson says he couldn’t revisit until just recently.

“We were able to walk through what happened and I was able to create another memory at that location with the pastor and I got a sense of, I got a sense of relief, and just knowing that every time I pass that place that’s not the only memory that I am going to have there,” said Dotson.

Memories are all he has left of his colleague and dear friend Sgt. Nick Risner. He’s now closer than ever with Risner’s family.

“There are special moments like that we gather. We celebrate what he has done and the relationship we had with him,” said Dotson.

Meanwhile, Senator Larry Stutts introduced the “Sgt. Nick Risner Act” which would eliminate portions of an early release prison policy, if approved. A bill that Dotson wants to see passed.

“If that bill would have been in place on October 1st, you and I wouldn’t be talking right now and Sgt. Risner would still be here,” said Dotson.

Risner’s memory continues to live on through Dotson, especially through his work on the force.

“I believe he would be proud of the support and his family during this time,” said Dotson.

Dotson is still at the Sheffield police department training officers in professional standards and training on how to handle high-stress situations like the one he survived.

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