DAYTON — The bouncer at Ned Peppers bar in the Oregon District said his actions the night of the mass shooting were “pure instinct.”
It started as a normal night for Jeremy Ganger. The bar had the usual busy Saturday night crowd, but around 1 a.m. Sunday, he heard something unusual: gunfire.
“Right away a lot of us knew what the sound was,” Ganger told 1290 and 95.7 WHIO’s Todd Hollst. “We looked down the road toward Blind Bob’s and we could see the gunman coming our way, so I got on my radio and told all the other guys ‘We have an active shooter; come and get everybody in.’”
As chaos broke out on East Fifth Street, people scrambled to get to safety.
But not Ganger.
“I started grabbing people,” he said. “I had people try to leave [Ned Peppers], I grabbed them and threw them back in.”
As he continued to get more and more people inside the bar, Ganger kept checking to see where the shooter was.
“I kept looking around the corner, seeing where he was coming and I could see the muzzle of the gun coming our way,” he said. “I knew he was coming for our club.”
Luckily for Ganger, Dayton police were on the scene.
“There was one officer in the street as the guy came up to the door and the police officers did their job,” he said. “... If it wasn’t for the Dayton Police Department a lot of us wouldn’t be here today.”
For Ganger, he saw getting people to safety as just another part of his job.
“I know my job is to protect my fellow coworkers and protect the customers that come in there,” he said. “... I just got to the door and I had to get everybody in safe and protect everybody. Unfortunately we lost nine people, but we did save a lot.”
Ganger said he remembers looking into the gunman’s face and thinking, “You’re not coming in this club, I’ll die before you come in here.”
It was at that moment that Dayton police officers responded, he said.
But even after the shooter was down, Ganger to make sure everyone was safe, so he took the gun away.
“I didn’t know if he was dead, alive, whatever,” he said. “I just went out and got the gun and stood there, shaking myself.”