A massive active shooter exercise drill filled St. Clairsville with the flashing lights and sirens Wednesday morning.
It gave everyone, from paramedics to police officers to students and teachers, a chance to practice what they’d do in a real situation.
Police had warned the public that it would look and sound like an actual disaster, and that it would shut down traffic.
But still it gave the appearance of being real.
“There was two active shooters on the school bus, en route to the St. Clairsville High School. Once they got out of St. Clairsville High School, we had one shooter exit the bus, enter the school, and the other shooter stayed on the bus and had hostages on the bus,” said St. Clairsville Resource Officer Jeff Gazdik.
The scenario was that one shooter entered the school, going through the entire middle and high school.
The other stayed on the bus, holding 20 hostages. The casualties were enormous.
“We had 18 critical patients that were shot that were all transported to Wheeling Hospital. And then we had nine DOAs in the school and then also the bus driver, so a total of ten DOAs,” said Gazdik.
Students played the parts of victims.
First responders took it seriously, as an opportunity to practice.
“And it also gives opportunities for other agencies to come, as far as the State Patrol, the SWAT team, the sheriff’s department and fire departments to learn our buildings,” said Gazdik.
Utility trucks parked across the roads, shutting down traffic. It took about an hour to complete.
They didn’t allow the news media behind the building where the SWAT team did their part of the exercise.
They said they didn’t want their tactics to be known to the general public, in case a potential criminal would be watching.