EXCLUSIVE: Sterlington school shooting training - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

EXCLUSIVE: Sterlington school shooting training

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STERLINGTON, LA. (KNOE 8 News) - On Saturday, A.L. Smith Elementary School in Sterlington became a battlefield.

Students and teachers lay motionless on the floor, shots rang out in the halls and a gunman was on the loose.

In light of the tragic Newtown, Connecticut shooting, police officers from Sterlington to Union County, Arkansas were preparing for the worst.

"What we do is we strive to get that blood pressure as high as we can get it," Instructor Donald Duncan said.

"I tell you what, it takes a lot out of you, man," breathed Sterlington Police Chief Barry Bonner after just completing the training. "It takes it out of you, for sure."

Officers said one of the most important things about this training was authenticity.

Though the bullets were blanks and paintballs, making every shot sound real and every victim look real was what mattered.

"We had surprise family members show up as these officers were making their way down the hall," Duncan said. "You're hearing your name called out over the intercom as an active shooter's calling you out."

"It seems like you don't really have a whole lot of time to think about it," said Bonner. "Every open door, every crook and cranny in a hallway, it gives you time to think about 'Am I next?' When you go around that corner, 'Am I next?' But that's what this training is for."

The training wasn't just for police.

All of the volunteers now also know what to do.

"Today's outcome in Sterlington was the largest I've seen with teachers, custodians, the principal, to me, that says a lot about a community," Duncan said.

Officer, student and teacher alike walked away safe Saturday, armed with knowledge to stay that way when a gun opens fire in the halls.

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