Texas Community College Shooter Rampage Drill Goes Awry

An Irving, Texas, community college drill to help prepare the school for a shooting rampage caught some faculty and students off guard, setting off panic that the gunshots ringing out were real.

The problem was that when the campus police of North Lake College implemented the training program for faculty and staff, there was no comprehensive notification of the school's students.

Students and faculty were taken by surprise on Oct. 5 when they heard the sounds of a gun being fired in one of the campus buildings.

"I was thinking about grabbing my chair and smashing out the window behind me to jump out the window," one student told ABC affiliate WFAA-TV in Dallas.

WFAA-TV obtained surveillance footage of the drill and 9-1-1 phone calls made by individuals on campus pleading first responders to come to campus and take action.

The dispatcher informed the callers that the alleged shooting was just a training drill.

North Lake College Police Chief J.C. Drake told ABCNews.com that the drill was not intended to scare. He said that while campus faculty and staff were notified that there was going to be police training taking place that day, students had not been informed.

"We expected them to understand that there would be a demonstration portion and that they would advise their students," Drake said. "That kind of fell through."

Drake said the notification system has since been updated so that the campus community is more adequately informed when training takes place. He said announcements over the PA system, fliers in hallways and along stairwells, and placards on walls are now posted during such sessions.

With the updated communication system in place, Drake said that the last drill held was "flawless."

Drake said that an active shooter training course was introduced in August 2012 to prepare faculty and staff in the event that an active shooter came into one of the buildings on campus.

While the training is mandatory for faculty and staff, students are given the opportunity to partake in the demonstrations or not.

"My job as a police chief is to make sure our people know how to respond to situations like this so we're not confronted with a Virginia Tech-like situation," Drake said.

The training module teaches defense tactics to "run, hide, or fight," he said. The first option, he said, is to get out of the building if possible. If they cannot leave, trainees are advised to lock themselves and their students in the classroom and barricade the door.

The last resort is to fight back.

"What we are teaching now is contrary to what was taught prior to Columbine and Virginia Tech," he said.

Fighting back may involve throwing items at the aggressor, like chairs, desks, wastebaskets, or a computer monitor, Drake said.

Chris McGoey, president of a security consulting firm, told ABCNews.com that he applauds North Lake College for having a plan in place.

McGoey said there is a real time lag between a crisis developing and the police actually engaging the shooter, and schools should have a plan.

"I think they should be commended for hosting some training," McGoey said. "If nothing else, it raises awareness and gets people thinking. Once people have some training, they're more likely to act appropriately in some crisis."

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