Middletown school ‘shooter’ hunted in drill Thursday

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — The start of the new school year in Middletown is just days away. Teachers there are getting ready by preparing for the worst.

Fire Capt. Michael Howley said, “Five years ago, three years ago, we never thought we’d be training for this type of incident.”

Emergency responders staged a school shooting today, all of it taking place at Farm Hill Elementary School. Volunteers played the roles of teachers and students. In fact, many of the people pretending to be children are actual teachers in the city.

Teacher Jennifer Cecarelli said, “I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for me to find out how I would react in a situation that’s a high stress level.”

Teacher Babs Scheer said, “We practice drills with the children, but being a part of it gives you more insight of what works and what doesn’t work and what to follow. Nearly everyone taking part in today’s scenario had no idea what to expect, until it was happening. The goal was to make it as real as possible.”

Police Capt. Sean Moriarty said, “It will start out as a normal school day, teachers and students in the school. There will be at least one gunman who will go into the school, an active shooter.”

Once the call came in, emergency crews responded accordingly. Months of planning was now in action. To complicate things, there were two shooters and a bomb inside, not to mention fake victims. News 8 even played a small role: questioning police for details so they would know what to expect from the media.

All the information gathered from today will be reviewed in the coming months to see what worked and what didn’t, all in an effort to respond if the unexpected occurs.

It’s something we’ve seen all too often across the country, and right here in Connecticut.

A fire official said, “If anybody thinks this will not happen to them, they are putting on blinders. it can happen anytime, any community big or small.”

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