Active assailant training hopes to prevent repeat of Columbia Mall incident

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Active assailant training exercises are vital to Montgomery County due to its location being so close to Washington D.C., police said. Andrea trout was at the Columbia Mall with her two sons when an active shooter opened fire in 2014.

“As people are running I ask this guy what’s going on. He said there were shots fired. You can’t imagine the feeling that comes over you. You have these two little kids who are like…what do I do? I just grabbed them and just started running. We had no shoes. We had no phone. I had nothing on me at that moment,” said Trout, active shooter survivor.

An active assailant training was held at Lockheed Martin Headquarters in Bethesda, which was meant to prepare Montgomery County Police for emergency incidents like the shooting that occurred at the Columbia Mall.

Officers who participated in the active assailant training on Saturday darted from their staging area in the bottom level of a garage across the street to the Lockheed Martin entrance to demonstrate a real response time.

“Anytime you have an active shooter incident, or something that takes place in the public in a mall like that, there’s always a lot of chaos initially. There are a lot of units responding to the threat without a lot of coordination initially because you don’t know where the people are,” said Eric Stancliff, special operations director.

Stancliff said the active assailant trainings can take close to three months to plan. For safety precautions, parts of Rockledge Drive were closed during the training.        

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