Bar That Was Scene of Mass Shooting Reopens – NBC Los Angeles


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Aurora police officer injured in Henry Pratt Co. shooting receives grant from charity started by 11-year-old


Aurora Police Officer John Cebulski, who was shot during the Henry Pratt Co. workplace shooting in Aurora last year, became the first recipient of a Running 4 Heroes grant from a charity started by an 11-year old Florida boy. Cebulski, 54, returned to restricted duty in mid-June. (Linda Girardi / The Beacon-News)



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OP-ED: Eminem’s ‘Darkness’ goes far in depicting Las Vegas mass shooting, but it needs to



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Screenshot from Eminem’s “Darkness” music video

Screenshot from Eminem’s “Darkness” music video

Screenshot from Eminem’s “Darkness” music video

When Eminem released a song and music video, “Darkness,” from the perspective of the Las Vegas shooter Jan. 17, it brought about mixed feelings from survivors of the mass shooting.

The Oct. 1, 2017 shooting, known as 1 October, killed 58 and injured hundreds more, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. 

The video goes through what presumably went through the shooter’s mind as he prepared to rain bullets down on an unsuspecting music festival crowd from a Las Vegas Strip hotel room. It’s complete with realistic bullets, screaming, a stockpile of guns and even blood when he shoots himself as police close in on him. Eminem and his creative team clearly did their research, as they even included the camera the shooter had propped up in the hotel’s hallway to warn when police were coming.

Different survivors told the Las Vegas Review-Journal they’re glad someone is at least talking about what happened, that people shouldn’t assume all survivors support gun control and that it was hard to watch and crossed a line but also didn’t because it reflects reality.

It’s a lot to take in.

At first glance, it’s easy for the video to feel like exploitation of an event that traumatized a city and the visitors and their families who were impacted.

As a native Las Vegan who covered the shooting as editor-in-chief of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’  student paper, my initial reaction was frustration that someone would not only bring back details of a week I usually wanted to forget, but also use it to benefit their music career.

And yet.

In the little over two years between 1 October and my watching “Darkness,” I never cried about what had happened to my hometown. I didn’t know how to handle intense breaking news every day for a week, and then figure out how a student paper should cover something like this long-term. Like I had been led to believe any “good” journalist should do, I compartmentalized my work and my own feelings. 

I didn’t have a hard time going to talks about the shooting, or reading long reports as news organizations with more resources successfully sued to get them released. I talked about how emotionally exhausting the work was with my staff, with reporters who asked me what it was like to cover something like this as a student journalist and, slowly, with more people I met after moving to Chicago for grad school. Yet I found myself numb. Numb, and finding on many days that the work I had done felt less and less meaningful the more time passed and more communities experienced their own mass shootings. I felt helpless.

When I reached the end of “Darkness,” when we see the back of someone’s head as they watch breaking news report after breaking news report of mass shootings around the country, I finally felt something.

Nothing else over the years truly embodied the sense of helplessness and withdrawal I felt and how much I want to stop seeing news of more of this shit happening every few months – sometimes even more often. I cried myself to sleep that night, and in my own way I feel like I’ve moved at least one small step forward because of it. I can live with someone making money off a video and song like this if it can help people in some way.

It’s also worth noting that the video ends with a call to action, saying, “When will this end? When enough people care. Register to vote at vote.gov.” So it doesn’t look like the point of “Darkness” is only to create outrage, but to also turn whatever emotions it elicits into action. In a cycle where people talk about the need for solutions after each new mass shooting, then seem to stop for a while until the next one comes along – with few changes coming about as time passes by – it’s hard to take issue with an attempt to get people to care.

That doesn’t mean it’s a perfect song or music video. For example, the video did not need to include an actor that looks like the shooter; he does not deserve to have his appearance or name widely available. Even if Eminem’s video only has an actor and never mentions his name, it’s more than the shooter deserves.

“Darkness” isn’t a song I expect I’ll be able to listen to casually given its subject matter. Anyone who may be affected by it should keep in mind it’s difficult to watch. But that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been made or even that it’s harmful.



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School Security Guard Who Stopped a Mass Shooting, but Wounded Two Students Won’t be Charged


(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

By Martha Bellisle, AP

A security guard who accidentally injured two students while trying to stop a mass shooting at a school in a Denver suburb will not be criminally charged, but must complete community service, a special prosecutor said Friday.

“Although it was illegal for him to have a gun on the premises, our investigation has determined that his actions were in compliance with applicable law,” said Lee Richards, spokeswoman for special prosecutor Dan May, who investigated the actions of guard Shamson Sundara.

On May 7, 2019, two teenagers brought firearms to the STEM School Highlands Ranch and opened fire, killing one student and [wounding] eight other people.

Sundara, a security guard hired by the school, responded to the shooting by detaining and disarming one of the alleged shooters in a school hallway, “possibly preventing further injury and loss of life,” Richards said.

After stopping the suspect, Sundara saw a person in street clothes round the corner and then saw the muzzle of a gun, Richards said.

“Sundara fired two shots in the direction of the gun,” Richards said. “Although both shots missed the subject, who turned out to be a law enforcement officer, they went through the wall of a classroom where students were gathered.

“Two students were struck, sustaining non-life threatening injuries.”

The officer Sundara fired at wasn’t hit by gunfire.

The case against the suspected shooters is pending, but the investigation into Sundara’s actions concluded with an agreement reached in consultation with the injured students, their families, law enforcement and the Douglas County School District.

Sundara, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, won’t be charged because under Colorado law, “deadly physical force may be used” if a person believes they are in imminent danger of being killed or injured, Richards said.

Under the agreement, Sundara will enter a program that includes participating in a forum with the victims and complete 50 hours of community service, she said. Once he completes all of the elements of the program, his case will be closed, Richards said.

Sundara was promoted by his employer, BOSS High Level Protection, after the shooting, said Grant Whitus, the company’s chief operating officer.

“I’ve been through two school shootings and I understand how difficult they are,” Whitus said. “We stand behind him 100%.”

Whitus said Sundara is unable to make any public statements because he’s a “key witness” in the criminal case against the two alleged shooters.

“There was a huge outcry by parents after the shooting,” Whitus said. “They believed in him. They understood what he did. We treat him as a hero and some day everyone else will when the facts come out.”



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America’s 1st Freedom | How Media Misinformation About Mass Murderers is Harming Us




by Charles C.W. Cooke –
Sunday, January 26, 2020

Having failed for decades to induce the voting public to back its draconian and unconstitutional agenda, the American gun-control movement has hit upon a pernicious alternative to persuasion and political argument: Fear.

To accomplish their goals of more gun bans and restrictions, gun-control groups are now focused on trying to convince Americans of things that are simply not true. Many in the mainstream media are helping them do this by printing their disinformation with few questions asked.

Thus, it has to come pass that many voters believe the number of crimes committed with firearms has risen over the last 30 years; they believe this even though, in fact, the number has fallen dramatically. This overall decline has occurred as the number of guns in private hands has more than doubled, as the number of concealed carriers has risen to around 20 million and as the laws governing the sale, ownership and use of firearms have been loosened almost everywhere.

Thus, many voters falsely believe that America’s schools were more dangerous in 2019 than they were in 1999, even though the opposite is the case.

Plus, many voters now think mass shootings—which, although devastating, remain mercifully rare—are happening every single day in the United States.

This lattermost lie—that mass shootings are ubiquitous rather than unusual—has gained particular currency since the launch, in 2013, of a shameless propaganda outlet named the “Gun Violence Archive” (GVA). The purpose of this so-called archive is to massively overstate the number of mass shootings and to launder that overstatement through media outlets that favor more gun-control laws.

Unfortunately, the GVA has been somewhat successful in its aim—that success has had disastrous consequences not only for the public’s conception of reality but also for public policy. On the basis of the GVA’s preposterous numbers, the press has been busy convincing children and parents that America’s public schools resemble the O.K. Corral; the mainstream media pushes this narrative even though, in fact, the U.S. is more peaceful than it has been in living memory.

To understand the extraordinary scale of the GVA’s dishonesty, consider that, for the year 2015, it counted 335 mass shootings. The FBI, in contrast, counted six that year. The open-source index kept by the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine counted just seven (and they counted the San Bernardino terrorist attack). As Mark Follman noted in The New York Times in 2015, the number of mass shootings since 1982 was then 73—which means that, by his count, there had been five times fewer incidents over the preceding 33 years than the GVA was claiming had occurred in a single year. In the U.S., a person is about as likely to die in a mass shooting as to be struck by lightning, but one would not know this from listening to the press.

The GVA arrives at its bloated figures by conflating a whole host of different sorts of crimes and pushing them into the same category, which not only gives Americans a false sense of reality—one does not think about a gang fight between criminals being a “mass shooting”—but also makes it much harder to construct countermeasures.

Clearly, not all violence is the same, which is why fighting gangs requires a different approach than does reducing domestic violence; also, preventing robberies necessitates a different set of legal tools than inhibiting terrorism.

By pretending that the rarest and most intractable problem in the U.S. is representative of all the others, the GVA and the mainstream media aren’t helping to solve the problem, but are, in fact, getting in the way. They aren’t just misinforming the public, but are actually hindering a
rational search for solutions.



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Marshall County High School marks 2 years since mass shooting | News


BENTON, Ky. (WDRB) — Marshall County High School in southern Kentucky is marking two years since a mass shooting. 

Two students, Preston Cope and Bailey Holt, were killed and 14 other students were injured on January 23, 2018. Fellow student Gabriel Parker was charged with murder and assault. 

The shooting led to a new law in Kentucky allowing school officers to carry weapons, and a bill in Frankfort would require school resource officers to carry guns. 

Parker confessed to police less than an hour after the shooting. A judge has denied a request to throw out his confession. 

According to court documents, police said Parker was asked if there were “any others” involved in the shootings. He reportedly replied, “No. It was me. I did it.”

Parker’s attorneys argued police didn’t properly administer his Miranda rights and didn’t properly contact Parker’s mother. A judge ruled Parker’s confession was voluntary, however, and wasn’t coerced, meaning his Miranda rights were not violated.

Parker is charged with two counts of murder and 14 counts of assault.

Related stories:

Copyright 2020 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved.



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Hindsight 2020: Catoctin High School student’s mass school shooting plans stopped in 2017 | Hindsight


When authorities thwarted a teenager’s plot to commit a mass shooting at Catoctin High School in April 2017, they said she had been planning the attack since as early as December 2016.

The arrest of the then 18-year-old shook the small town of Thurmont, as details were revealed that she collected information on how to build a bomb and a timeline for the shootings to happen on April 5, 2017.

The teenager was said to have kept a journal that outlined her plans to become “the first real female school shooter” and had started collecting the makings of explosive materials. Officials said what she had in her possession could not be made into a bomb.

Her diary also contained what she expected to encounter as well as information she gathered from speaking with the school’s resource officer.

Her father was the one who alerted authorities to her intentions. She was pulled out of class and arrested.

She was enrolled in the law enforcement/criminal justice program at the school district’s Career and Technology Center.

Once arrested, she was committed involuntarily for a mental health evaluation. Frederick County deputies arrested her March 31, 2017, when she was released.

She later admitted to the plot as well as wanting to kill herself after detonating bombs.

In January 2018, the teenager was sentenced to 20 years in prison, after pleading guilty to possession of explosive material with the intent to create a destructive device.

She was 19 at the time of the sentencing.

Upon release, she will be placed on five years of supervised probation with the special condition that she stay away from all educational institutions.

When the Frederick News-Post revisited Thurmont a year after the arrest, the town was still recovering, thankful that she was not able to continue out her plans.

If she would have been successful with carrying out the plot, she would have joined the ranks of less than 10 women in the U.S. who have committed a mass shooting.

In 2018, a student at Great Mills High School in Maryland was arrested after shooting two students at the school.

According to data from Gun Violence Archive, by the end of 2019, there were 417 mass shootings in the U.S. The nonprofit GVA tracks every mass shooting in the country. Thirty-one of those shootings were mass murders.

Follow Crystal Schelle on Twitter: @crystalschelle



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Virginia community recalls mass shooting on 10th anniversary


APPOMATTOX, Va. (AP) – Every Sunday for the last decade, Father Jim Gallagher has lit a candle at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Appomattox County.

Resting on the surface of the piano, in front of the honey-hued pews, the flame burns in honor of the eight people who were killed in a shooting in January 2010 in Appomattox County.

None of the victims were members of his congregation. But in a tight-knit community like Appomattox such tragedies pulled at every piece of fabric that makes up the community, still standing as one a decade later.

On Jan. 10, Our Lady of Peace was packed. Folding chairs set up along the far wall provided spillover seating for the almost 100 people crowded into the sanctuary. Residents were gathered for a prayer service to remember the victims and families of one of the largest mass shootings in Virginia, just days away from the 10-year anniversary.

Fairy lights were strung along the outside the church, and small plastic tealights were handed out at the door. Family members of the eight killed filed into the front rows of benches, including Kim Scruggs, who lost her son, Bo, on Jan. 19, 2010.

This year, Bo Scruggs would have been 26.

But Kim Scruggs never saw him turn 17.

In January of 2010, Spout Spring resident Christoper Speight shot his relatives and their friends outside the house at 3030 Snapps Mill Rd., where he lived with his sister, her husband, and their young child.

After two years of investigations into the incident, officials said they believe Speight shot his sister Lauralee Sipe, 38; her husband, Shannon Sipe, 38; and their 4-year-old son, Joshua, on Jan. 17. Speight then is believed to have shot Morgan Dobyns, 15, Lauralee’s daughter from another marriage; Karen Quarles, 43; Jonathan Quarles, 43, Emily Quarles, 15 and her boyfriend, Bo Scruggs, 16, on Jan. 19 before engaging law enforcement in an overnight standoff that ended with Speight surrendering the morning of Jan. 20.

Last Friday, for the first time in 10 years, Kim Scruggs publicly shared her memories of her son Bo, remembering his life rather than the tragedy that ended it.

Standing at a pulpit in front of the parish, she remembered him trudging through deep snow to his girlfriend’s front door to deliver a hard-earned Christmas gift – an open heart necklace from Kay Jewelers. Remembered him helping others to their feet after a fall at the skate rink in town. Remembered him as fun-loving, intelligent and compassionate.

“The legacy stands stronger than any words I could ever convey to you tonight,” Kim Scruggs said. “On January 19, 2010, life changed forever for our family. The evil that was committed that day took Bo’s life with one bullet. The fragments of that bullet damaged the lives of his family and friends. Life will never be the same again.”

Almost every year, on the anniversary of Bo’s death, Kim Scruggs said family and friends come to their home and spend the day with them. Talking with Bo’s childhood friends, now in their mid-twenties, is bittersweet. Kim Scruggs said she hears about the milestones, the engagements, the marriages, the children, and it’s hard not to feel cheated.

“Because your son is gone,” Kim Scruggs said. “And he’s not experiencing the life milestones like others.”

A group of Bo’s friends, all of the pallbearers at his funeral, got tattoos to honor Bo. Like Alex Goin, who said his stretches across the whole of his back.

Though the expressions of grief were unanimous, so was the conviction that the community came together in the wake of the shooting, a testament to the strength of the small town.

“This community has always been incredible when it comes to families in need,” said Mary Anne Freshwater, victim/witness coordinator for Appomattox County. “In people’s darkest times, the community helps to shine a light.”

Freshwater worked with the families of the victims in the days and years that followed, and said from across the region other victim/witness organizations rallied around them – supporting and aiding crime victims as they interacted with the criminal justice system, focusing on assistance and referrals to victims, their families and witnesses throughout the court process.

Appomattox County Sheriff Donald Simpson, who was lead investigator of the case in 2010, also spoke at the prayer service. Simpson said the case changed his perspective on his career and life forever.

After the call came in on Jan. 19, Simpson worked 16-hour days. It was an active investigation and he treated it as such: head down, in work mode, with dozens of people to be interviewed, multiple searches in multiple locations and a mission to put together a “rock solid case” that could not be torn apart in court.

“This case was the leading story on national news,” said Simpson. “All eyes were on our tiny community.”

Simpson hardly had time to breathe until Jan. 24, when he said he sat down early in the morning with a week’s worth of newspapers in front of him.

“And there it was, on the front page of the The Lynchburg News & Advance, I saw their faces. The eight people that I had learned everything about the previous week, but I realized I had never met them,” Simpson said. “I knew their names, I knew their date of birth, I knew their addresses, I knew their families, I’d met their families. I knew their height, I knew their weight, I knew their Social Security numbers. But I did not know them.”

He saw pictures of their smiling faces. Saw life in their eyes. Saw the photograph of Bo, buried deep in the snow, trudging to his girlfriend’s door.

“That Sunday morning as I sat in silence, I cried for the first time,” Simpson said. “I cried for all the broken families, all the lives. Looking at the pictures, looking at the faces, I saw what was taken.”

For Don Childs, it was a day like no other in his career. While piloting a helicopter to assist in the search for Speight on Jan. 19, 2010, then State Police Sgt. Childs was shot down by Speight, the seven bullets that struck the helicopter forcing an emergency landing.

“I had no caution lights, no warning lights, nothing seemed to be abnormal,” Childs said in a phone interview with The News & Advance on Friday morning. But stuffing from the seat cushion floated in the air of the cockpit, and he could smell burnt metal, like an empty pan left too long on a stovetop burner.

He would learn later that the shots from Speight’s high power rifle severed a fuel line in the fuel cell, while other bullets penetrated a skid tube and went through the rotor blade. If Childs had a passenger, which he nearly did, they would have been shot several times in the torso. He said no one knew why the helicopter didn’t burst into flames.

“This was a very unusual event, it has not happened before: anyone in a police helicopter getting literally shot down,” Childs said. “For me to get seven bullets in a helicopter and survive, was really a miracle.”

Ultimately, his flight helped draw Speight out, and he later found out that when the helicopter flew overhead, Speight had tactical team members in his rifle scope, preparing to shoot.

Linda Smith, mother of Dwayne Sipe, grandmother of Joshua and step-grandmother of Morgan, spoke with The News & Advance after the prayer service in January. With her mother, Virginia Emory, beside her, she told stories about them, remembering family vacations, walks in the woods and her almost daily phone calls with her son.

“I can say that I’m glad that I’m 10 years out. Because if it was 10 years ago, I wouldn’t be able to sit here and talk without the tears rolling,” Smith said. “I’ve told people it would have been easier to die then it was to walk through that, to live through that … I thought, God, why couldn’t I have been at the house. I would have sat right there on the steps with my Joshy, and we could have gone together.”

Though she thinks about them everyday – and sometimes still sits in Sipe’s car, just to run her hands around the steering wheel, the last place she saw him alive – she said by the power of God, she has made it through.

Carol Canard, mother of Karen Quarles, said it doesn’t feel like 10 years. She said she found an inner strength she didn’t know she had. Living with her son Stephen Canard, and helping to raise his two teenage boys, working at a quilt shop on Old Forest Road, it helps to be around people, she said.

“They’re still here with us,” Carol Canard said. “Not constantly like they used to be, but they’re still here.”

She said she still misses her daughter’s phone calls at 8:30 every morning, her son-in-law, Jonathan and 15-year-old Emily, who she said was the apple of everyone’s eye.

Stephen Canard said the last ten years have had a lot of ups and downs. He thinks about what it would be like if they were still around, to see them grow and change.

Stephen Canard remembers talking to Simpson those 10 years ago, helping to identify the bodies of his sister and family, and receiving the last phone call, confirming what he already knew.

When he hung up, Canard said he stood at the front door facing everyone in the living room and he felt a presence, his sister, walking into him.

“I could feel Karen walking into me and just stay there. It was the warmest sensation, it felt like forever,” Canard said. “And then she just walked out, walked out the back door, and she was gone.”

At the end of the service, after scripture was read and the congregation prayed for healing, comfort and peace, the family members went up to the piano and lit candles one by one. A candle for every victim, something to remember their loved ones, and the 10 years now behind them.

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Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC.



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North Texas business training worshippers to fight back in mass shootings – News – Brownwood Bulletin


By Stacy Fernandez

Texas Tribune

KRUGERVILLE — Liberty Hill resident T.J. Wagner yelled commands at his friend James Johnson in an empty classroom at a building in North Texas earlier this month: “Face the wall! Feet apart! Hands behind your back!”

Within seconds, Wagner handcuffed Johnson, leading him out of the room with one hand gripping the metal cuffs and the other squeezing his right bicep to guide him out. Then, the two switched places and it was Johnson’s turn to detain his buddy.

The pair were among a group of several men from across the state who enrolled in a training program this month where they practiced combat moves, learned how to apprehend suspects and shot firearms.

But they weren’t training for law enforcement. They’re just men who are worried about their churches.

They’re preparing for the worst-case scenario, one where their congregations are the target of a mass shooting — something that was almost unthinkable a few years ago but has happened twice in Texas in the past three years.

In November 2017, a gunman opened fire inside First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and injuring 20 more. And last month, days after Christmas, a shooter attacked the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, killing two people and injuring one before being fatally shot by Jack Wilson, an Army veteran and head of the church’s volunteer security team.

A few days before he left for the training seminar, Wagner said a few friends asked him, “Do you think you need security at church?”

A couple days later, the shooting at White Settlement church happened, and one of those friends later told him he was right to attend.

“We’re seeing lots of other churches that had not thought about this are putting together security teams,” said Wagner, a member of Life Church in Leander, an interdenominational house of worship. “It’s a terrible thing that we have to do that, that you have to think about it, but it’s been proven over and over again, that it’s possible it could happen. So be proactive.”

Security training

Chuck Chadwick, the founder and president of the National Organization for Church Security and Safety Management, has been in the church security business for about 18 years, encouraging parishioners and worshippers to take their safety into their own hands. He’s experienced a spike in interest in recent weeks, following the White Settlement shooting, that mirrors the same interest his business got after Sutherland Springs.

In a one-story building in Krugerville, a city about an hour and a half north of Dallas, located next to a State Farm office and gun shop, attendees go through the same state-certification training as private security guards. Except at the end, instead of being paid to protect an office building, the participants will be volunteers protecting their flocks.

Members of church security teams from across Texas gathered in Krugerville, near Denton, to get certified in church security and trained for an active shooter situation by the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management Jan. 11, 2020.

Members of church security teams from across Texas gathered in Krugerville, near Denton, to get certified in church security and trained for an active shooter situation by the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management Jan. 11, 2020.

Members of church security teams from across Texas practice by shooting at targets in Krugerville. The security teams are training for active shooter situations with the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management. Leslie Borham-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Churches pay about $800 to fully certify and train each person through Chadwick’s school. The Chadwicks’ full program costs $620 and state licensing runs about $180.

In the classroom, Will Chadwick, Chuck’s son and the class instructor, described attack scenarios to a group of participants who attended in early January. He gave advice on what to do — but also, legally, what not to do.

Draw the assailant away from where children might be, he said.

Use words as your first line of defense.

Don’t handcuff an attacker to something and just walk away.

Throughout the training, Will Chadwick peppered the men with verbal pop quizzes to prepare them for the 100-question state exam that would come at the end of the program.

The second half of the training was more hands on. Will Chadwick, who typically spoke in a calm voice, barked his commands at the men.

He demonstrated hand-to-hand combat techniques and the proper way to strike a police baton.

Members of churches from across Texas gathered in Krugerville, near Denton, to get certified in church security and trained for an active shooter situation by the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management. | by Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Members of churches from across Texas gathered in Krugerville, near Denton, to get certified in church security and trained for an active shooter situation by the National Organization of Church Security and Safety Management. | by Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson for The Texas Tribune

Participants also shot a variety of handguns and shotguns as part of their certification at the company’s outdoor gun range.

The Chadwicks’ training prepares participants for violent attacks, but they said it would also come in handy for more common situations, like church parking lot thefts.

Many of the participants in the January class had enrolled before the shooting at White Settlement.

“It’s surreal that you’re coming in here and you’re training for what you hope never happens. And then the very next day, it happens,” said Jimmy Bills, a former Marine who lives in East Texas and attends Oasis Church of Round Rock. Bills was dressed in all black with a “Don’t tread on me” hat.

The average participant who attended the training was a man with former military or law enforcement experience.

“I’d rather have me doing it than somebody I don’t know,” said Larry Graves, a 65-year-old father of eight kids and Army veteran who traveled from Arlington.

A new calling

Chuck Chadwick, 65, got his start in private security, working about 20 years at a high-end auction house based in Dallas, protecting fine art, gold coins and luxury goods.

But after the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, he felt a calling.

In 2002, he went on to develop a security program for two megachurches in Texas and became their director of security.

Four years later, he started the National Organization for Church Security and Safety Management which has turned into a family business. Chuck Chadwick serves as president; his wife Marian is vice president and over logistics; and his son Will is the primary instructor and trainer.

“I saw there was a real need for a low-cost alternative to private security for churches,” Chuck Chadwick said.

His organization is one of a handful of Texas-based organizations that do security training specifically for churches. The Chadwick family business only works with “Judeo-Christian” organizations, Chuck Chadwick said.

At the time Chuck Chadwick started his church security business, there had been at least two mass shootings of churches in Texas. In 1980, a gunman killed five people at The First Baptist Church in Daingerfield. In 1999, a gunman killed eight people, including himself, at the Wedgwood Baptist Church in Forth Worth.

Chuck Chadwick estimates that his business has certified about 500 licensed church security guards at almost 100 churches, mostly in Texas.

Though inquiries about the training program surge following news of mass shootings, only a fraction of people actually follow through, Chuck Chadwick said.

“We call it emotional inertia. Everybody gets all excited about it, you know, ‘We gotta do something, we gotta do something,” Chadwick said, “but then nothing happens at their church and they figure, ‘I guess we’re okay.’”

This time could be different, Chadwick said. Because there was video of the shooting, the visual may stick with them much longer, he said.

State law

A video of the shooting in White Settlement shows a number of congregants drew their gun at the shooter, but it was Wilson, head of the church’s volunteer security team, who killed the shooter with one shot. Regarded as a hero by many, Wilson was awarded the first Governor’s Medal of Courage last week.

Had Wilson not intervened, the shooting “could have been so much worse,” said Frank Pomeroy, the pastor of the Sutherland Springs church and a state Senate candidate.

Pomeroy’s 14-year-old daughter was killed during the 2017 shooting, but the pastor stands firmly against increasing gun restrictions.

“We are God’s protectors, and to do so we need to be trained and we need to be armed with the capability to protect our sheep,” Pomeroy said.

Gyl Switzer, executive director of Texas Gun Sense, said people celebrating Wilson were diminishing a tragedy where lives were lost.

“The system has failed when we’ve got guns and churches and when some people are celebrating [there were only] three dead people,” Switzer said. “How is three dead people not a failure?”

For years, Texas churches were hindered from organizing volunteer security. They either had to pay for private security guards, or seek special permission from the state, an exemption that came with a $400 price tag.

That changed when a new law went in effect in September 2017.

Former state Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he was inspired to introduce the legislation after discovering that though existing law had allowed congregants with licenses to carry firearms into churches, they weren’t allowed to organize into a volunteer security teams without paying the state.

Rinaldi’s bill went into effect a month before the mass shooting of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

“There’s no doubt that what the law did was legalize what was done at White Settlement Church in forming a security team. Without the bill that passed in 2017, those individuals would not have been able to form a security team and then who knows what could have happened,” Rinaldi said.



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A Year Later, New Bar Opens Honoring 12 Victims of Borderline Mass Shooting – NBC Los Angeles


More than a year after a deadly mass shooting at a bar in Thousand Oaks, the owners of the Borderline Bar and Grill are opening a new venue.

Troy Hale said one of the first things you’ll notice if you were a regular at the original Borderline Bar and Grill are the familiarities. It’s the stuff that he and co-owner Brian Hynes brought over from the old place, such as the framed American flag, a favorite spot for selfies, the neon signs and some furniture.

There are also 12 bar stools, in a nod to the 12 people killed when a gunman opened fire on Nov. 7, 2018 inside the old Borderline Bar and Grill, which has been closed ever since.

Hale says he and Hynes are taking cues from the victims families and survivors.

“They’ve asked for us to bring something, bring it back,” he said. “And this is the fastest thing we could do.”

The space is located in Agoura Hills, a few miles from the original Borderline.

Hale and Hynes are hoping to create the same vibe — live music and bands on Fridays, line dancing lessons, country music and a new place to call home.



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