Church gets active shooting training from Homeland Security

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Church gets active shooting training from Homeland Security. Dann Cuellar reports during Action News at 6pm on March 24, 2018. (WPVI)

As hundreds of thousands of people rallied for gun reform on Saturday, some people in Gloucester County spent the day finding out what to do in the event of a shooting.

Members of New Jersey's Office of Homeland Security were at Bethel AME Woodbury Church to give vital information.

The issue hits home for churches in light of a shooting at a church in Charleston where nine people were killed.

The trainers used actual footage from incidents like the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire from a 32nd-floor hotel room, killing 58 people and wounding 851 others - many as they were on the ground.

"Body laying down is a big target," said Edwin Moore of Homeland Security. "You always want to keep above on your feet, try to move away and try to get to cover if you can. But keep moving. Moving targets are hard to hit."

They also used footage from a café in Paris where a terrorist was shooting people outside in 2015. They emphasized how important it was for patrons to take cover behind the bar or run downstairs to the basement.

"That's good cover. Get out of there and going downstairs is even better because you're out of sight, out of mind, and out of the way of the shooter," said Moore.

The event was organized by the pastor of the church and the Gloucester County NAACP.

"You think it's happening in other states, other schools, in other communities and it could happen right here tomorrow," said Loretta Winters of the NAACP. "So we have to prepare ourselves for the worst. It's really sad."

"We can't stress enough how much people need to be aware, be sensitive, have their awareness heightened. We have to be on the lookout and work with law enforcement in the best way we can," said the Rev. Dr. Charles Boyer.

Trainers also used the footage from Paris to remind people to not worry about your belongings before fleeing.

"See what she did? She grabbed her bags. Ladies, those $200 shoes aren't worth it," Moore said. "Leave your stuff and run like hell. Get out of there."

Organizers are also hoping that this workshop will inspire others to hold similar events and give people vital information that may save lives.
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