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Police Conduct Active Shooter Drill on Campus

Keith Brewer could not have imagined playing cops and robbers at the age of 29, especially the part of his playing the bad guy.

Brewer found himself in that role August 9 during a Tarboro Police Department training exercise at Edgecombe Community College as he stormed inside the side entrance of the Fleming Building while firing several blanks. He then ran upstairs where he randomly fired several more shots.

For the drill, a school official made a “Code Red” announcement over the intercom alerting students and faculty to the situation and the police were called.

Within approximately three minutes after the intruder entered the building, about a half-dozen officers carefully entered the building, brandishing their weapons while looking for the gunman. They found Brewer upstairs where he was subdued and arrested.

The exercise was considered a success.

“The officers had great form as I watched them as they moved up and down the hallway,” said Tarboro Police Chief Damon Williams. “They did very well. You can never be prepared for something like this. In stressful situations, they have to refer back to their training.”

After subduing the suspect, four officers brandishing their service weapon searched rooms upstairs until Brandon Anderson, the coordinator of the event, called off the drill. After the drill, the officers talked about the situation.

“It was great, but there are some things that we need to work on,” Anderson said. “But as far as the initial response and the way that everybody acted when they got here, they did a good job.”

College president Dr. Deborah Lamm watched the drill unfold and she, too, praised the police.

“It was amazing what can happen within a few minutes,” she said. “We actually counted the number of rounds the shooter was able to get off when he entered the building. It was a real eye opening experience.”

“Lately in this country we have had a lot of active shooting. It seems to be increasing, and we have to be prepared as law enforcement officers,” Williams said.

Lamm added, “We want to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can do to be prepared in case of the worst case scenario, and hope that it will never occur.”

College officials had been working with local law enforcement and emergency personnel for several years to plan the event, and a second active shooter drill will be conducted on the Rocky Mount campus this fall.

Edgecombe County Emergency Management and Vidant Edgecombe Hospital security also participated in the drill.

by Calvin Adkins
The Daily Southerner