IBERVILLE PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Iberville Parish held a multi-agency drill Thursday, giving everyone involved an insight into what to expect if there ever was a mass shooting in the parish.
"We're hoping we never have to use this, but we practice because it is becoming more and more real. It's happening in the smaller and smaller communities and if we are not ready, it could happen here," said Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi.
The training was held at MSA West, where all students must have badges to enter any door on campus. The deputies walked into the scenario blind and did not know what to expect.
"We want them to come into the scene with a blank slate not knowing what they could face. In a real scenario, they'll be coming in here, students running, complete chaos, and we want them to have the closest thing they can have when they come into a school for a real active shooter," said Stassi.
In this scenario, they had a student walking into a hallway, with the gunman catching the door behind the student to get in. The fake shooter shot a teacher and two students in the hallway, then went into a bathroom, shooting four more students with a shotgun. There were students running out of a classroom, all while deputies were running into the school.
Because it was multi-agency training, the West Baton Rouge and Plaquemine fire departments were checking on victims and carrying them out to ambulances. Acadian Ambulance and Ochsner also took part in the training to get as much hands-on experience as possible.
"It gave the paramedics a real view, as good as you can get, with people who were out there with people who were hurt, trying to make this as real life as possible," said Justin Cox with Acadian Ambulance.
A representative from the Iberville School System was also on hand, watching the training in action. "Unfortunately, we just never know what could happen or when someone will just make the determination and we would rather be prepared than completely blind," said Iberville School's Child Welfare and Attendance Supervisor Brandie Blanchard.
Sheriff Stassi says the training began with the school resource officers, as they would be the first ones to respond if there ever was a real-life scenario. He added he plans to have all his deputies train for the worst and pray for the best. After all, 1,200 of Iberville's prized possessions attend MSA West.