Niagara Gazette

Local News

April 17, 2014

Sheriff's Office prepares for the worst with active shooter drill

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — It started out with a loud bang, and then another bang, as two gunmen ran through DeSales Catholic School Wednesday morning, firing their weapons and screaming.

“I want to kill everyone,” one of the shooters yelled. “I’m going to kill you!”

Within minutes, there were other voices, this time from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team. 

“Show your hands,” team members yelled at observers and civilians. 

Soon, after more gunfire, one of the several response teams sent into the school had a suspect in custody in the school’s dimly lit cafeteria. A few minutes later, word came through that the second shooter was in custody on the third floor. Everyone involved took a deep breath and started preparing for the second training exercise of the morning.

While the active shooter drill at DeSales Catholic School Wednesday morning was practice for the real thing, everyone involved, from the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office to the parents and teachers who volunteered their time to play victims, were completely serious. 

“It’s important for the team and the responding officers to keep up on their skills and what they have to do when they come into an active shooter type situation,” said Sgt. James Hildreth, one of the team leaders on the emergency response team. 

The sheriff’s office conducted three drills. One involved a dog searching for a suspect outside of the school. The other two involved active shooter scenarios in the school.

DeSales decided to bring the sheriff’s office in to do the drill after a threat vulnerability study was done at the school, said Principal Scott Fike.

The school received a lot of good feedback on the drill from parents, added Marketing Director Ellen Roth.

Several teachers, administrators and parents took part in the drill, playing the role of victims or passing on tidbits of information to the response team. For the teachers, taking part meant giving up a day of Easter vacation. 

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