REDMOND, OR -- Redmond's Obsidian Middle School was the site of a traumatic scene, Friday. But what looked like the latest school shooting was just a drill.
At a mock press conference, Redmond Police Chief Dave Tarbet outlined the scenario: a single shooter opened fire in the school's commons, just as students arrived for the day. "The School Resource Officer at the school engaged the shooter, ending the threat on the scene. We can confirm one shooter is deceased, and there's no indication at this time that there are any others involved." Deschutes County Sheriff Sgt. William Bailey told reporters, "The School Resource officer, who was inside the school, confronted the shooter. And, I can confirm the shooter is deceased. And, He is the only person deceased in this incident. There are seven students in critical condition." He went on to describe how they were taken by ground and air ambulance to nearby hospitals.
Using a training channel, Deschutes County dispatchers called in units from all over Deschutes County. Along with the Sheriff's Office and Redmond PD, officers from Bend, Black Butte Ranch and Sunriver also took part. Along with several local fire departments. Redmond Police Lt. Curtis Chambers says those are important partnerships, "In an incident, such as this, if it were to happen, all agencies would be coming to help us." Even the FBI sent personnel from its Portland office because, Chambers says, they would respond to a school shooting to support local agencies and provide access to federal resources. The School District was also on hand to practice the process in which parents would be notified and then eventually reunited with their children.
Several dozen college students portrayed shooting victims. EMT-in training Sarah Barcelone tells KBND News things got intense during the simulation, "It actually got real pretty fast. So, what happens is, we wait in there, and they're coming in, and we're just screaming and yelling; we're really trying to recreate the scenario of how it would be in real life."
Lt. Chambers says exercises like Friday's are invaluable. Although, he admits, they hope to never have to utilize what they've learned. "In these large scale, multi-casualty incidents - whether it be at a school, a hospital, airport, anywhere - preparing and practicing, getting multiple agencies involved to work together, takes time and takes effort. What we are learning in this scenario [is] that we have a lot to improve upon. And, we are hopeful that by training and practicing now, we are better prepared if and when this incident actually does occur."
Photos: (top) College students portraying shooting victims rush from the school during the simulation.
(middle) DCSO Sgt. William Bailey takes questions during the mock press conference, as RPD Lt. Curtis Chambers looks on.
(lower right) Responding officers rush in to Obsidian Middle School during the training exercise.
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