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What would you do if a gunman opened fire at the mall?

SHORT PUMP, Va. – Fake blood, guns and lots of police officers. Short Pump Town Center looked more like a crime scene than a shopping center Sunday morning.

Henrico Police and the Henrico Fire Department staged an emergency exercise at the mall to train on how they would react should a gunman open fire.

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Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

“How would you get those people out of mall? How would safely rescue people that were still here?” Henrico Police spokeswoman Lt. Linda Toney posed as questions police hoped to answer during the drill.

More than 200 volunteers played dead, wounded and scared shoppers. Others played the bad guy being pursued by police.

Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

“You know honestly we feel like we live in a bubble, including Short Pump,” Henrico mother Mimi Moore said when she learned about the drill. “We honestly don’t think about that kind of stuff.” Moore said if someone opened fire in the mall she would probably “run like a crazy woman.”

“In today’s world you have to be prepared,” Short Pump Town Center General Manager Kem Blue said. “Whether it happens at a school or a church or a shopping center, it could happen anywhere.”

Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Police said their coordination with mall security and mall workers was key to keeping shoppers safe. But shoppers need to play a role in keeping themselves safe too.

“We teach people to run, hide, and fight,” Lt. Toney said. “You really have to think about that. Sometimes you may be running towards something, and other times you should stay where you are and fight.”

Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Police training exercise at Short Pump Town Center. (PHOTO: Henrico Police)

Police and mall managers scheduled a meeting Monday to review the drill, share any lessons they learned and make changes — if necessary — to mall security protocols.

22 comments

  • Robbie

    Say what you want but my hats off to the Henrico Police and Fire Department. Let’s hope and pray this never happens but Henrico County is ready if it does. Great job!

  • manalishi

    “What would you do if a gunman opened fire at the mall?” Run to it. It’s a training thing. The first responders will get there shortly after they are notified.

    • dranderson007

      No disrespect but you do not want to rely on luck at that point. What if you miss and hit an 8 yr old girl instead? Wouldn’t it have been better to train? You will fall back on your training when things go south. If you have not trained for it then well its mostly luck and in that case God Be With You. We DO need people to step up if and when this happens again. Another good reason for CCW permits. however that being said you also need to be very careful. The first responders will be amped up and you may get hit. Do not recommend a civilian bring a long gun due to that reason. You can holster a handgun after the threat is neutralized. Or drop the handgun easier. With a long gun you can not,especially with a sling attached You will be a target. So be careful and train.

    • Russ

      If you are an operator on scene and have no idea who the perp is or how many, EVERYONE is treated as a suspect. Just the way it goes. Even if you are held hostage and are rescued by Delta or Seals overseas they would verify who you are with guns at ready 1st. Also with Stockholm syndrome (where the victims sides with the captor) you must be diligent. The trauma can cause normally sane rational people to do some crazy stuff. Surprised you don’t see them zip tied actually

  • Iguana Green (@IguanaOne1)

    I see lots of steroid filled cops ready to shoot anything that moves. Their faces seem to have anticipation and glee upon their faces as this drill commences. Some how I conclude that Virginia is actually preparing for a false flag operation and the cops couldn’t be happier. Just saying.
    But just one good guy with a gun, or a few good men…..carrying concealed would end any attack that a foolish terrorist may attempt faster than any 911 dispatch would. No?

  • Timmy McFadden

    If there is a shooting at the Short Pump Mall, I assume it will be woman, angry because her double mocha latte dripped on her Louie Verdun shoes.

  • tom

    wow…the first responders are sure chunky. don’t think the criminals have much to worry about as far as being chased. if these heffers don’t have a weapon..the criminals will get away. no way any of these blimps could catch them. it should be a rule that obesity is not allowed on the force.

    • Valerie

      They probably have Kevlar on, don’t they? I would think they would need to train just as they would be. Kevlar makes them look much heavier than they are.

  • Tbone

    Short Pump mall doesn’t allow guns on their premise, as a CCW holder, what would you do if you see bad guys with guns robbing a store, would you pop them?

  • Timmy McFadden

    I’m not worried about a mass shooter. If you want to worry, worry about the saggy pants crowd having a shootout inside a shoe store when the new Air Jordans come out.

  • Phil

    A very good drill. As a person who has a CCW permit and frequent that mall all the time, I hope i never am in that situation. I would probably do what I could to get myself out of the situation as fast and safely as i can. My weapon is to protect my wife, son and myself first and foremost. If I am in a capacity to where I can help someone else and eliminate the threat without collateral damage or other people getting hurt, then so be it.

    • Kerri

      I’d be right beside you Phil! As a single mother of 3 I’ve taken every firearm course offered as well as gotten my CCW permit in order to protect me and my children. I train frequently and have gone as far as beginning to train my eldest two in firearm safety. All three know what to do if a situation like this occurs in order to seek shelter safely and without haste. Hopefully neither you nor I will need to put all of this training to use in the near future. Be safe!

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