Sunday special: Minnesota church hosts active shooter training

Members of one Washington County church spent part of their Palm Sunday learning how to respond if the unthinkable happens, sitting through a presentation from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office on what to do in the event of an active shooter situation.

The pastor of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Bayport asked the sheriff to address his congregation this weekend after several incidents over the past year targeting places of worship.

“In light of the incidents that have been happening around our communities, particularly in places of worship, and not just Christian churches, but synagogues, mosques where they have been people coming in and wanting to do dangerous harm to people,” said Richard Larson, pastor of the church. “I felt it was good to be proactive and bring in people who deal with these things every day in their work and see what they can do to help us be better prepared.”

Beyond the now-standard advice of ‘run, hide, fight’ during an active shooter incident, law enforcement officers stressed the need for people to be aware of their surroundings at all times and being mentally prepared for an emergency situation.

“Remember common sense to you now is different from common sense to you when it actually happens,” said Sgt. Joel Legut, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “So take note of what’s role-playing in your head right now and put that in your memory bank, so when it does happen, you can back to it.”

Legut told Fox 9 there’s been an increase in requests from businesses and churches for this type of training in recent weeks, especially since the shootings in Parkland, Fla. last month that claimed the lives of 17 students and sparked widespread protests across the country.