Simulated school shoot out - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Simulated school shoot out

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July 7, 2004

Colquitt County - It's hard to forget Columbine High School where teenage gunmen went on a murderous rampage at school. And it can happen anywhere.

On Wednesday, as a combined effort a south Georgia city and county SWAT team joined forces to make sure they can handle that very situation.

An actor yells, "Somebody help me!" A scene reminiscent of Columbine, but instead, it's a simulated shoot out at Colquitt County High School.

Gun casings surround students lying on the ground, covered with a syrup and red food coloring concoction.

Outside, SWAT Team Commander Lt. Jerry Green tells another team to move in, "That fenced-in compound is unlocked gentlemen."

Each step moving them closer to becoming a team. Moultrie and Colquitt County SWAT members training together for the first time.  Green explains, "Get to know each other and it's important that they are friends and have good relationships."

Friends wearing intimidating gear, hostages are watching from inside. Fourteen-year-old Jennifer West is the first to be set free.  West says, "I was okay, but when we saw SWAT people outside the window and they were pointing guns at us, it was kind of scary. There's a lot of tension because he [gunman] is strict."

Others hostages still inside. Finally, the SWAT team calms the tension.  Green says, "We got all of the hostages out safely. Okay, the hostage taker is out and under arrest."

One under arrest, but inside, the combined city and county SWAT team step over those students and teachers who didn't survive quietly walking past rows of lockers, looking for the shooters.

A shooter dead and two still alive. The SWAT teams move upstairs, find the killers and start yelling, "Drop the gun!"

Both guns are dropped and the shooters are handcuffed. The high school is secured and the combined forces move out ready to take on any situation as a team.

SWAT Team Commander Lt. Jerry Green says all members did a great job working together.

The Moultrie and Colquitt County SWAT teams will not be graded, but will meet to find out what they did right or wrong.

posted at 5:15PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com