KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (21Alive) - It's a sound you never want to hear inside the walls of a public school building. The sound of gunshots.
Friday a training exercise was held at East Noble Middle School. Local law enforcement agencies, the school's teaching staff and several students participated.
A state trooper played the bad guy, armed with an assault rifle and ready to go on a rampage. But within minutes, a Kendallville police officer and other state troopers raced to respond. They followed the sound of more gunshots to the third floor, where they found the suspect sprawled out. In the exercise it was believed the gunman had killed himself, but the police commander in charge of the exercise preaches, shooter down doesn't mean it's time to let your guard down.
"We can't assume this is the only bad guy, that there's not IED's out there or anything else like that," said Commander Tony Casto, Indiana State Police.
After the exercise the officers talked with teachers and students about the best way to handle this worst case scenario. They advise locking the doors, and hunkering down, but if the shooter breaks in they say don't be afraid to fight back.
The first student who was shot in the exercise says his criminal justice teacher tells the class to be bold if they're cornered.
"We turn and yell at him, he calls it a 'war face', we turn and yell at him, and throw books at him and then somebody goes and tackles him," said Brock Baker, Fremont H.S.
Commander Tony Casto also gives the students and teachers ideas in case of that worst case scenario.
"Pencils and pens are writing utensils, but they can also be used to stab someone with. iPADs are used for technology, but they can also make great heavy Frisbees that we can throw at someone," said Casto
"Quite often, with these folks, as soon as they are faced with opposition so to speak, then they back off. They're going to go someplace else," said Supt. Ann Linson, East Noble School Corporation.
Governor Mike Pence has ordered state police to conduct similar training exercises across the state in hopes of safeguarding Indiana's schools from a crisis we never want to face for real.
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