Locals Respond To School Shooting

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

March 21, 2005

On Monday, March 21st, a teen gunman killed 9 people, including himself, and wounded at least 14 others at his high school in Red Lake Minnesota. The troubled youth got through school security by shooting the guard when he entered the building.

What worries area parents and students is that random attacks like this one in Minnesota can happen anywhere.

"It just seems so unbelievably sad that we are at a point that this is how people deal with the horrors in their lives," said Kate Rossier, parent of two high school students.

"Charlottesville has an excellent reputation and safety record in the schools, but this environment in Minnesota probably felt safe as well," said Scott Hilles, who's 10-year-old daughter is a student in Charlottesville.

Any school is subject to a random attack, so local police have prepared for the worst.

It is called "Rapid Response Training, which is our ability to be able to go into a school in a situation like this, terminate a threat, restore order, treat the wounded, and deal with safety issues in a very quick and strategic way," said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.

Police are scheduling a new training session, but in the mean time they have controlled school entry points as well as a school visitor check-in procedure that requires visitors to wear issued ID badges.

"You try hard to prepare for [the worst], you hope and pray that it never happens in your community, and certainly our hearts go out to this particular community," said Longo.

Many local schools have officers on duty, but police remind parents that it can happen at any school, any time, so Charlottesville does have a plan in case of an emergency.

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