Practice shooting drill hopes to leave officials better prepared - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Practice shooting drill hopes to leave officials better prepared

(WMC-TV) - Local law enforcement officials are working together and practicing how to respond if a gunman opened fire at a shopping mall.

Hours before the Wolfchase Galleria mall opened for business, deputies, police, and other emergency workers participated in a drill Sunday morning.

The full scale emergency drill included volunteers wearing fake blood and bandages while posing as "victims".

The Memphis Police Department Director Toney Armstrong wanted to ensure the incident was as real as possible.

"We had mass casualties officers...actually come in find the shooters and engage the shooters," explained Armstrong.

The pretend situation was aimed at giving first responders and mall managers a chance to practice how they would handle a real shooting.

Wolfchase Galleria Mall representative AJ Coffee made clear hands-on training is the best form of practice.

"The best training in the world is when you are physically on scene and you're reacting. In this case, it was active shooters. So, literally having shooters in the shopping center and what would have happened had that occurred," stated Coffee.

Armstrong is a firm believer in preparing in case of disaster.

"I think it recognized that...this is the world we live in now. If you look at what's happening across the country, Colorado, Newtown... this is just the culture of our world now," explained Armstrong.

In Sunday's scenario, lawmen evacuated the mall and then moved in to eliminate the gunmen.

The next step for this drill is the review phase where organizers will dissect what happened here so everyone will be ready in case disaster ever strikes.

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