#schoolsafety | Active shooter training increasingly available – Lowell Sun

PELHAM — The shooting at New England Pentecostal Ministries church on Saturday could have been much worse, Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark revealed a few hours after the violent act unfolded.

The situation was diffused — shortly after it began — when the gunman was gang-tackled by wedding guests, preventing any more shots from being fired from the weapon of the accused assailant, 37-year-old Dale Holloway.

“Thankfully they were able to stop that and detain the shooter,” Roark said.

The police chief also revealed Pelham police provided active shooter training to New England Pentecostal Ministries within the past year. The way parishioners responded on Saturday appeared in line with the kind of training provided, Roark said.

Since 2016, Pelham police have offered active shooter training to any business, school, church or other organization within the community that request it. Pelham police Sgt. Brian Barbado said from the police station on Sunday that the service — led by Sgt. Matt Keenliside — has been requested several times during that time.

Attendees of the Civilian Response to Active Shooter Training session at Chunky’s Cinema Pub in Pelham in March of 2018 listen to a 911 call placed by a teacher during the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Colorado. SUN/AARON CURTIS

“Instead of you thinking of us and firefighters as the first responders, truly you are. You’re the first people there,” Keenliside said to people who gathered for a training session at Chunky’s Cinema Pub in March 2018.

“You’re the people seeing this, experiencing this, have the chance to stop this potentially and can relay this to our dispatchers who then help us,” he added.

Phil Kane and his 15-year-old son Will Kane, both of Pelham, attended the March 2018 training session, and thanked the Pelham Police Department for being proactive.

“They are teaching us to run, fight, think, react and not just hide and cower,” Phil Kane said after the training. “For years we have been taught to basically not fight back.”

Active shooter training is being provided to the public more and more on a national scale. For example, the National Safety Council partners with communities nationwide to offer free training to residents who are able to sign up online for a service at various locations.

To find a two-hour active shooter training event and sign up, visit the organization’s website, nsc.org/home-safety/get-involved/community-training.

The Department of Homeland Security websites also offers information about active shooter preparedness, which includes multiple videos about emergency planning. The DHS active shooter website can be reached at dhs.gov/cisa/active-shooter-preparedness.

Follow Aaron Curtis on Twitter @aselahcurtis

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