CINCINNATI -- Sgt. Dan Hils says there's really no preparing police officers for what they saw at an East End nightclub early Sunday.
Gunfire killed one person and injured 15 more in what appears to be the largest mass shooting in the United States this year. Police Chief Eliot Isaac said several men got into a fight at Cameo Night Club before the bullets started flying.
"You see something like that, that doesn’t leave you right away," Hils said.
Four off-duty officers were working a private security detail outside the club. Hils, president of Cincinnati's police union, said what they and other officers encountered when they rushed inside may have left them disturbed.
"I've heard that the officers that were there on scene were literally stepping over victims to get to the more critically injured victims," he said.
The crime likely was the culmination of a dispute that began earlier Saturday, city spokesman Rocky Merz said.
O'Bryan Spikes, 27, was the victim who died, Isaac said. Another victim was left in "extremely critical condition." Paramedics took the injured to several Greater Cincinnati hospitals for treatment.
Hils said the officers called to the club will have access to police psychologists and clergy to make sure they, too, are recovering.
One of the officers, he said, was left feeling angry.
"He doesn't understand it. And they're all veteran officers, and so they've all seen a lot of other violence and a lot of violence recently, but then you have this," Hils said. "And so all the things that you've seen kind of come to a head -- and you see something like this, and you're a little bit lost."
Police believe several people opened fire; Mayor John Cranley said investigators were "working their tails off" to find the people responsible.
"I assume it's someone having an illegal gun and resorting to gun violence, which is totally unacceptable, and I think it’s going to raise a whole host of questions that are legitimate about how we're going to handle that in the future," Cranley said.
For now, though, Cranley said the focus is on helping the victims and their families recover "physically and emotionally."
The mayor also acknowledged emotions may be running high. He asked anyone looking for payback to let police do their work.
"Firefighters, police, everybody is doing their part, and we gotta give them time to get the interviews done and try to find the shooter or shooters," he said.
For WCPO's complete coverage on the Cameo nightclub shooting, visit wcpo.com/cameo.