BUFFALO, N.Y. — One week after the mass church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a Buffalo pastor is preparing his congregation. Common council president and pastor Darius Pridgen offered an active shooter training during his Sunday services at True Bethel Baptist Church.
Many church members say the active shooter training has made them a little more comfortable during church service. They learned to run, hide and fight – a practice taught by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.
Every Sunday, it’s a full house at True Bethel Baptist church. That’s why pastor Darius Pridgen wants every person in his congregation to be prepared for an active shooter.
“We, in the last year, have had a person come in and pull their gun,” said pastor Darius Pridgen.
Pridgen says it was after an argument got heated. Church security, who has also had training, handled the situation and no one was hurt.
But after last week’s deadly shooting at a Texas church, Pridgen invited Buffalo police officers and members of the SWAT team to speak during service.
“The events across the country reflect a need to prepare even houses of worship for active shooter it’s good to familiarize the congregation with what to do,” said Sgt. Cedric Holloway with the Buffalo police department.
In the event of an active shooter, police say people should do three things — run and try to get out of the building. If you can’t, hide somewhere and as a last resort fight with everything you have. Officers say even children need to know.
Officers say never pull the fire alarm during an active shooter situation.
“It would be so wonderful in the future if we can get maybe a silent alarm that say active shooter on it and we can pull that alarm and that could probably save time and save lives,” said Dollie Edwards, a member at True Bethel.
Police say always be aware of emergency exits and people around you and if you see something suspicious always say something.
Starting next Sunday, Pridgen says there will be more signs at the beginning of service to alert people of all the emergency exits in the building. Police say it’s important to have active shooter trainings in public places, churches and schools.