By Tanya Perez
"Even knowing the entire event was staged did not lessen its impact.
Media were told that an active shooter would come through the front doors of the Mondavi Center at UC Davis on Tuesday morning, and proceed to shoot his way up the stairs, before being taken down by UCD Police.
Still, as his white sedan pulled up to the curb in front of the Mondavi Center, it was startling to witness the shooter — aka UCDPD’s Lt. Danny Sheffield — stab a student usher, then shoot two other people at the entrance.
As he stepped past his victims and into the building, he menacingly walked around the lobby, indiscriminately shooting at UCD students and staff. And as planned, he went up the grand staircase on the right side of the lobby and shot two more students.
A UC Davis police officer charged the active shooter during a drill at the Mondavi Center. Two volunteers who had been “shot” were later ushered out during the evacuation phase of the drill.
About three minutes into his spree, police radios could be heard announcing that an active shooter was in the Mondavi Center and that police would be dispatched.
The drill was meant to simulate the actual timeline of this type of emergency: Thus, about four minutes after the first shot, two UCD police officers arrived and trailed the gunman upstairs. He was shot in the men’s room.
Adrian Galindo, the assistant production manager at the Mondavi Center who also serves on its safety task force, said he recently completed a two-year program through the Academy for Venue Safety and Security in Texas. “(The Mondavi Center) had no policy in place for an active shooter,” Galindo said.
So following his training, which ended in April, Galindo brought his knowledge to the Mondavi Center as well as to the UCD Police and Fire departments. “It grew from there,” Galindo said, “and morphed into this big drill.”
Back to the drill: Around the five-minute mark, sirens could be heard, and the true purpose of the drill began — focusing on evacuating casualties from the scene of a mass shooting.
The police were the first responders to the victims, some of whom fully committed to their roles by moaning and yelling for help throughout the exercise. One “victim” who laid outside the front door and suffered from a gunshot wound to the chest begged for help from police officers, adding to the realism.
As more police arrived — all with blue masking tape on their handguns and rifles to indicate they were training weapons — they checked on the victims and escorted out those who could walk on their own. A triage medical area was set up with red, yellow, and green ground covers, where victims were placed on the cover which indicated the severity of their injuries.
After the police did their walk-through, it was announced that there were nine injured in the building. Dummies had been placed in positions throughout to indicate victims who had been killed.
About 12 minutes after the first shot, the UCD Fire Department arrived, and a couple of minutes later, an ambulance from American Medical Response.
“Twelve minutes is the average amount of time an active shooter” is at large, said Matthew Scott, a consultant with Campus Crisis Response of Rocklin. He said the response time, according to FBI statistics, takes about 17 minutes.
While the fire crew tended to the injured, they debriefed the more alert victims, finding out what they saw of the shooting incident. Victims were loaded onto canvas stretchers and placed in the triage area or into awaiting ambulances.
Scott was there to observe, since he teaches active-shooter responses to kindergarten through 12th grade schools, as well as to churches and other organizations. He commended the rescue task force at UCD who “did a great job,” noting that “there is never a perfect scenario” when training for crises.
He explained that drills like this are particularly useful for the police and fire departments to learn to communicate during emergencies because “cops speak one language and firefighters another.” As well, this type of practice is helping “police (get) better at medical (response) and fire at tactical.”
By all accounts, the drill was a success. It’s worth repeating that as an untrained observer, the spectacle of a shooter targeting people in an enclosed space was unsettling. But drills such as this, Galindo said, help the university “to see all the dangers so you can be ahead of the curve.”
— Reach Tanya Perez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8082. Follow her on Twitter at @EnterpriseTanya."
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