AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - The training exercise took place at this Camp Mabry office building. The location, Wednesday morning, was filled with active duty and veterans.
This man in a maroon sweater played the gunman. After firing a shot outside, he moved inside, walked to the back of the room and fires another shot. Moments later, as military security forces arrived, a woman ran out from the building. When the officers made entry, there were more gunshots.
The exercise was closely watched by Garrison Commander, Major Aimie Tibbetts. "I think we got as close as we could get to being realistic and intense as we could make it so we can have good training,” said Major Tibbetts.
To add to the realism, a SWAT team from APD and several Austin first responders took part. Agents from the FBI, Homeland Security and Emergency Management were also involved.
Even STARFlight flew in for a simulated Medical Evac.
It was all done to reenforce a message Maj. Tibbetts wants to send out.
"That we're safe, we can keep those of our employees and our families, know that we are safe here on Camp Mabry, and I think it does wonders for our entire community, so just the fact that we have our local First responders and have this relationship with them where we can train together means they know our community that much better, our local neighborhood and everything that surrounds Camp Mabry as well,” said Major Tibbetts
Theatrical make up was used to simulate gunshot wounds.
Graphic, but part of the scene officers may encounter.
"That's a big thing, is to stop the dying, stop people from bleeding out, said Lt. Ken Hubbs. Lt. Hubbs is with APD and coordinated the exercise. He included an unexpected twist.
There were actually two active shooters.
The second gunman was waiting for the officers as they moved to a back room. "Sometimes training scenarios will implement explosive devices but today we introduced another shooter. So yes absolutely it cuts down on complacency, keeps officers sharp you don’t know what’s going to happen. Adds tools to their tool chest,” said Lt. Hubbs.
This training exercise comes a few days after a deadly work place shooting in Illinois. While the main focus was on the security forces on this post, there is also a lesson here for the general public. "I learned to either run, hide or deny somebody, but off of this I learned how fast it could get away from you and how stressful it is,” said Travis Cottington
As one of the survivors, Cottington knew he was just in an exercise, but the intensity made him think of what he could lose. "I have three daughters and that was my mindset. Go back to them" Making it possible for everyone to go home safe is why officials at Camp Mabry say training like this will continue.