LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – Law enforcement agencies were preparing for the worst during an active shooter exercise at Desales Catholic School in Lockport on Wednesday.
There was screaming and chaos as Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies stormed the school. As part of a drill, they shot a man, who was armed with two handguns. The simulation called for the shooting after he broke into the building.
Jonathan Schultz was running command. He watched as the simulated situation unfolded.
“Picked Easter break, that way the kids aren’t here. We have more range of the school and we can really get into the school and work with searching and clearing the building to make sure it’s safe,” Schultz said.
For first responders, Schultz said these situations will always be a surprise.
“The active shooter incidents will never be easy and will never be the same thing, but by doing trainings like this with police, fire and EMS, it will alleviate a lot of that chaos when the time does happen and we’ll be able to save a lot of lives,” Schultz said.
During the drill, an actor, portraying a teacher, was taken hostage. He was rescued when the SWAT team searched the building.
“It’s incredible the amount of violence that’s starting to escalate in schools,” said Principal Dr. Scott Fike.
Fike’s son is a student at the school. There are hundreds of others he worries about each day.
“You always wonder, are you ready for it? What are your teachers going to do? What are you going to do in that situation to make sure they’re safe,” Fike questioned.
That’s the purpose of these drills. First responders prepare for the worst and hope it never comes to that.
Fike is set to speak with the SWAT team and the sheriff’s office on finding ways to bolster security, in the coming days.