Active shooter drill prepares local university for worst - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Active shooter drill prepares local university for worst

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TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

UT Tyler held its first ever live active shooter drill Monday, hoping to improve school security in the case of a real emergency.

The training comes just three days after yet another deadly school shooting at a Colorado high school. UT Tyler officials said Monday's event was planned more than six months ago, but is designed to teach local authorities how to respond to an incident similar to that one if it were to happen on their campus.

The drill centered around one man, searching the UT Tyler campus for his daughter as part of a custody battle. The campus was already on lock down, as authorities believed he was in the area after shooting his ex-wife and killing her boyfriend.

Once on campus, the drill simulates the man first taking a university employee hostage, before letting her go and gaining access to a building. One shot is then heard inside the building, as the man shoots a campus officer already inside. Campus police follow by swarming the building, attempting to capture the suspect.

It's the first scenario of its kind played out on campus, following a string of deadly school shootings on other campuses in just the last year.

"It only takes one incident to change our perspective on the world," said UT Tyler Vice President of Student Affairs Howard Patterson. "We want to make sure we're as ready as possible for as many scenarios as possible."

Students on campus said they believe the training couldn't come soon enough.

"Seeing as so many things have happened just in the last couple of weeks, I can see why they're trying to step it up to make the parents and students feel more safe," said junior Tynika Adams.

"It's always a good idea to be preventative," freshman Anna Wood said. "That makes me feel very good to go here."

Senior Loren Lirely believes it's just another move by the school that continues to improve student safety at the university.

"We've had problems in the area the past couple of years," Lirely said. "But it's definitely shored up and I think a lot of people are reassured by the improvements."

But junior Kenzie Masterson believes students and teachers should also be involved in training for similar scenarios.

"It does take [law enforcement] a little bit of time to get here," Masterson said. "I know that they get here as fast as they can, but we're here now."

In September, a new Texas law did begin allowing students to have licensed guns on campus, but only if they are kept locked up in a trunk or glove compartment. Individual colleges can also choose whether or not they allow students to carry weapons on other parts of campus, but that is not an option at UT Tyler.

University officials said they will review the results of the drill internally to correct and improve response in the event of a real emergency.

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