GUNCRAZY: Cop Describes Shipyard Shootout

Leissner’s patrol car raced down the Navy Yard’s desolate main road and stopped at Building 79 – a brick warehouse surrounded by silence. The 17-year military veteran, who had served in Kuwaitguncrazyslaughter.jpg and is a firearms instructor for the Air Force Reserve, could not have known he was seconds away from stepping into the scene of the city’s biggest mass murder in more than six years. Three businessmen had been shot dead inside a second-floor conference room. An accountant fought off the pain of bullet wounds to the stomach and managed to dial 911, alerting Leissner and other cops to the chaos. Once inside the building, Leissner and two female officers relied on instinct to discern what exactly they were about to discover. “There were no sounds,” Leissner said. “The lights were dim.” Leissner and the two female officers boarded an elevator and quietly made their way to the posh second-floor headquarters of Zigzag Net Inc. Zigzag, a marketing and advertising company, takes up the entire second floor of Building 79. Brick walls, 20-foot ceilings, white leather sofas and other chic furniture greet visitors to the office, according to police sources. In the main office area, five desks were neatly cluttered with Apple computers, iPods, music CDs and computer software. “I happened to be the point man,” he said, using military terminology. “I rounded the corner.” Leissner, wearing a bulletproof vest, gripped his police-issued Glock tightly as his pulse pounded. “I felt like a huge bullet magnet,” he said. Twenty-five feet away, Vincent Julius Dortch, 44, stood silently, clutching a .40-caliber semiautomatic Glock. Dortch had just finished a murderous rampage, fueled by his belief that his wife’s retirement savings had been lost in a real-estate investment headed by New York-based Watson International, police said. Leissner fired five shots, which ripped through an office door. At least one slug struck Dortch in the left side, police said. Dortch wildly returned fire at Leissner, but sources said the bullets crashed harmlessly into the floor. He turned and ran into a small office, where two hostages, bound with duct tape, trembled in the darkness. Dortch had bound but had not harmed the men, who like him were investors in Watson International. With cops closing in on him, Dortch apparently shot himself in the head. Leissner burst into the room, expecting a second gunman to jump out. The two hostages, who have not been identified by police, had watched Dortch kill two Watson executives – Robert Norris, 41, and James Reif, 42 – as well as Mark Norris, 46, the president of Zigzag Net Inc., who had made his offices available for the Watson meeting. Dortch also critically wounded Patrick Sweeney, 31, a Zigzag accountant. Police discovered the bodies of Dortch’s victims in a conference room at the other end of the hall. Sources said investigators found Mark Norris bound to a leather chair, seated near the conference room. He had been shot in the head. His brother, Robert Norris, lay in a pool of blood near the door. Reif lay lifeless under the table. Police found several loose 9-mm rounds in Dortch’s blood-soaked duffel bag in the conference room, sources said. When cops searched his Toyota Avalon outside Building 79, they found a container for his Glock, an AK pistol in his trunk and a briefcase holding Map-quest directions to Flushing, N.Y., where another Watson board member lived.

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