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'We lost a great man’: Family, friends of Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner honor fallen hero

He will continue to save lives through organ donation, something those closest to him say he was passionate about doing in the event he passed.

Posted: Oct 3, 2021 11:44 AM
Updated: Oct 4, 2021 3:53 PM

Sheffield Police Sgt. Nick Risner's family and closest friends are doing about as well as one might expect as they deal with the tragic loss of their loved one.

They told WAAY-31’s Marie Waxel that he died a hero, saving dozens of innocent people from what might’ve happened Friday when a suspect opened fire in Muscle Shoals, striking Risner and another officer. (Learn more here.)

Sgt. Nick Risner

Risner died from his injuries Saturday.

He will continue to save lives through organ donation, something those closest to him say he was passionate about doing in the event he passed.

“You ask anybody that knows him deep down, and it's no surprise to anybody,” said Lt. Max Dotson, the second Sheffield police officer hit in the shootout.

While he’s limited in what he can say about what happened, he stressed how loved Risner was by all who knew him.

To say Risner loved wearing the badge is an understatement. He had proudly served the City of Sheffield since March 2012, and before that, he spent eight years in the Army Reserve.

"He's a community guy, always wanting to get the dog out and show the kids," Dotson said of his friend, who worked with a department K-9.

Ask anyone in the Shoals, and Risner is well-known, well-loved and well-respected. He was the type of officer who left someone better than he found them, "whether it'd be taking money out of his own pocket to pay for somebody's meal or just getting out playing basketball with the kids,“ Dotson said.

Risner made every effort to break the barrier between the badge and those he vowed to serve and protect. In fact, he became quite the star on social media. The K-9 officer had more than 75,000 followers on TikTok.

"He loved to entertain people,” Dotson said with a smile,

“He liked making people laugh," he continued. "If you were at the station with him, he's always joking, pulling a prank. (But) he took his job very seriously at the same time. When it was time to work, it was time to go to work."

The only thing the 40-year-old loved more than his job and his fellow officers was his family. Risner leaves behind a wife and daughter, his parents, two brothers and a lot of nieces and nephews.

"We’re stunned," Dotson said. "We want him here with us, but his actions have spoken, and I think people will remember him for who he was and in a positive light."

He was a man who loved life and used his own to save others — "a great man," Dotson said.

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