Fort Bragg conducts active shooter exercise

Wednesday, November 5, 2014
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A mock exercise preparing military personnel to combat an active shooter took place on Fort Bragg Wednesday morning.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- A mock exercise preparing military personnel to combat an active shooter took place on Fort Bragg Wednesday morning.

"The most recent FBI report that came out in Sept. 2013 showed that there was an upward trend in active shooter incidents," said George Olavalria, Deputy Director of Emergency Services on Fort Bragg. "They were averaging approximately 11.4 annually. It was for this reason that the acting commander picked this -- an active shooter -- as the exercise this year."

The exercise, which enlisted the help of more than 100 troops, first responders and emergency officials, is a part of annual crisis drill conducted on Fort Bragg.

Wednesday's scenario took place at the now-defunct Pope Elementary School. The parents of a girl who committed suicide following constant bullying arrive to the school to confront students and teachers. The father opens fire in the school, while the mother holds hostages in the school library. The scenario included crisis negotiators, and ends with the father shot and killed by military police.

Personnel, including some from Camp Lejeune and the Military Ocean Terminal Sunny Point installations, were not made aware of the location or circumstances of the emergency. They added layers of response through three mock playings of the emergency.

"We try to learn from everybody and we think they'll leave here learning a little bit from us also," said Andy Albright, Chief Security Intelligence coordinator with Fort Bragg Garrison Command.

Surveillance of all the emergency scene locations was monitored by personnel in a nearby trailer, which was refurbished from an old laundry facility.

"From our viewpoint, it's rooftop cameras and cameras inside looking down the hallways and where the hostages, the children, would have been held," said Albright, explaining the setup to media.

The surveillance allows the team to quickly identify mistakes and monitor efficiency.

"If someone gets hurt, we have a golden hour and we're trying to move the wounded out and then start a relay," said Albright.

A 2013 FBI study entitled "Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013," reviewed 160 incidents. Roughly 10-percent of them ended with the shooter committing suicide after law enforcement arrived, but before the officers could respond to the emergency.

"Our scenario is based on what the data tells us," said Olavalria. "If we were to have one, to make sure we are prepared whether it be at the school or the Soldier Support Center that we expose our soldiers and stress them so that God-forbid if we were to handle it, it wouldn't be the first time that they come across that scenario."

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