AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Following the deadly shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, the North Austin Muslim Community Center decided they would not only pray but prepare for the worst.
Saturday afternoon, members of the mosque gathered for their 2 o’clock prayer and then listened as Sr. Deputy Michael Deleon from the Travis County Constable’s office presented active shooter training.
Members were taught Texas State’s ALERRT program, advising people to avoid, deny and defend.
"A critical incident reminds us to have a plan ready and that's what we are here to say have a plan, be ready think outside the box," Deleon said. "We've become relaxed during a welcoming environment, so it's just a reminder to stay aware of your surroundings."
Shooter response training is a first for the mosque. Back in September their place of worship was vandalized and now Imam Islam Mossaad said they can’t afford to not be prepared for what may come next.
"We don't ever want to have to imagine it but we know to be prepared and we need to have a plan of action and be able to execute it," Imam Mossaad said.
Shortly after the vandalism, Mossaad said the community showed a great deal of support. Since then they’ve increased security and plan to do so ahead of Ramadan.
Alongside the fence of the mosques hang heart shaped notes. One reads, “You are welcome here.”