Colton Tooley

APD Chief Art Acevedo and Mayor Lee Leffingwell talk in the background as UT President William Powers Jr. answers questions at a press briefing about the shooting at the Perry-Castañeda Library on Sept. 28, 2010

Photo Credit: Erika Rich | Daily Texan Staff

A few days ago, I was sitting in the FAC studying when the campus-wide alert system went off. It was a scheduled test, but I immediately froze. No one around me even looked up, but it triggered a powerful memory for me, and I felt an immediate shock of cold fear. Midway through my first semester of college, I woke to the then-foreign sound of those same sirens blaring outside. I checked my phone and saw a text from the UT emergency alert system: there was an active shooter at the PCL. I was safe in my locked-down dorm, I knew that. But I stared out the window towards the PCL across campus and shook.

My floormates and I sat on the ground in the hall, a few of us crying, all of us furtively checking Twitter for updates. No one knew what was happening. Rumors circulated by the media, the police and our classmates misinformed and confused us. I texted all my friends who were in class on that side of campus that morning. I prayed, hard, and I never pray. Eventually, the news came in that the shooter was no longer active. No longer active because he had shot himself in the library. Lock-down was lifted, and everyone from my dorm streamed into the street. The mood was weirdly exuberant. The conversation revolved entirely around the shooting. How fortunate that no one died, that no one was hurt, people kept saying.

Colton Tooley was nineteen when he died on September 28, 2010. He was mentally ill, and as a result of that illness, he intended to harm his fellow students. This is inexcusable, deplorable, and tragic. It is incredibly fortunate that he did not succeed in his plan, and I am in no way minimizing that fact. But to say that no one died in the PCL shooting is false. As evil as his actions were that day, Tooley was a student too, and his death was a loss.

We need to talk about mental illness. By “we” I mean every single one of us, and by “talk” I mean regularly.  It is our responsibility as friends, sisters, brothers, girlfriends, boyfriends, teachers, teammates. Ask someone how they’re doing, how they’re feeling or how they’re dealing with stress. Then listen. When someone asks you how you’re doing, don’t just say “I’m fine,” even when you’re not. Talk to your friends, and trust them to listen. And when someone needs you, listen without judgment. We can create a culture where it’s okay to talk about depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other mental illnesses, and we need to.

Whenever I hear those campus-wide sirens, I remember Colton Tooley and the fear I felt on that morning in September. My heart rate rises, and my throat closes up the way it does when you’re trying not to cry. It’s Suicide Prevention Week. Take the time to attend one of the many events programmed, or at least take the time to ask someone how they’re doing.

McClure is a Plan II senior from Houston.

Police escort a student to safety across from the Perry-Casteñeda Library after math sophomore Colton Tooley brought an AK-47 rifle to campus and fired multiple shots before ending his own life on the sixth floor.

Photo Credit: Andrew Torrey | Daily Texan Staff

On my way to teach a morning class at the Law School four years ago, I was leaving the AT&T Conference Center on University Boulevard driving toward 21st Street with the University of Texas Tower right in front of me, and as I approached the Littlefield Fountain, I heard what sounded like four or five gunshots coming from my left and from the direction of the University Catholic Center.  I immediately concluded though that the sounds must be part of a nearby construction project.

However, a moment later, right in front of me and the Littlefield Fountain, about a dozen or so UT students started scrambling behind wastebaskets, trees and monuments, and I initially thought to myself how sad it was that our society had come to a point of everyone immediately thinking that gunshot-like sounds were, indeed, actual gunshots — when, as in this case, they were just noises coming from a nearby construction project.  Just then, however, a slender young man wearing a black suit, black tie, white shirt, ski mask and tennis shoes, and carrying a solid-black and very large assault rifle, ran along the street and emerged from my left as I got to 21st Street!

I distinctly remember him turning my way as he ran from left to right directly in front of me and only five feet in front of my car, but then my memory of what happened after that became immediately foggy, even to the point of, at one time, firmly believing that he had fired what I thought were three more shots, not at me, but to my left.  As the day went on, however, and as the days progressed, this memory became less and less clear in my mind. And, to this day, it’s still somewhat foggy and unclear.

So, I continue to ask myself how I could have two vague memories of this one single event, both of which to this day remain completely inconsistent with each other. The answer, I believe, lies at the root of the problem with eyewitness testimony, and this is especially so in the midst of surreal, startling and unexpected circumstances. The mind just doesn’t process well during such events, and at that time, my thoughts, fears and emotions were all spinning through my head. I am aware of a number of studies that have been conducted on human memory and on the propensity of eyewitnesses to “remember” events and details that did not occur, and now, some four years later, I’m still wondering why my own mind remains unclear about these crucial and surrealistic seconds.

I quickly became aware that shots were fired. I saw students scrambling for cover. I saw the gunman dressed in a black suit and tie, with a ski mask and an assault weapon.  I knew that other campus shootings had involved multiple shooters, so I was scanning for others — even a team of others — who might also be involved. I had put myself in a prime position to be shot, essentially by coasting to 21st Street right in front of the gunman as the initial gunshots were fired.  I thought for an instant about running over the shooter with my car (as he was right in front of me for about two seconds or so), but I knew that sometimes people participated in crazy pranks and that this all could be nothing more than that. 

So, with my adrenaline surging, and as my pulse quickened, I froze for about 10 seconds as the scene quickly played out right in front of me. As the gunman ran down 21st Street toward Speedway, I made a quick U-turn and went back to the AT&T Conference Center, where, with the help of the valet attendants, I called in the incident to UT Police. 

I then got back into my car and drove around the campus to the Law School, where I ran up to my classroom and told them that there was a shooter on campus, that I thought he was likely a real shooter (and not a hoax), and that they should remain in the classroom until they received specific instructions to the contrary. My students were beginning to get text messages to the same effect.

Catching my breath for just a few minutes, I went into an empty classroom down the hall from my own class, and as I was sitting by myself, just thinking of what had happened, my phone rang with a New York City area code. Within about 30 seconds of answering that call, I found myself being interviewed live on nationwide CNN about what I had witnessed. To this day, I have no idea how CNN found knew about what I had seen, nor how they got my cell phone number — all within just a few minutes of the very event itself.

 Later that day, as I reflected on a crazy morning, my thoughts turned to sadness about the tragedy of the shooter, Colton Tooley, as his only intent that day evidently was to commit suicide in a way that created a stir, to die by his own hand in a public flash.  To this day, I have no idea what caused him to want to do that. One thing is clear, though: Tooley did not want to shoot anyone else. He had ample opportunity, and the weapon, to shoot many people that day — but he didn’t.  He only shot himself. 

All of that is so very sad for him, his family and his friends. And so very hard to fully understand. Those of us whose life briefly intersected with his plans, however, should recognize that someone with those intentions must, indeed, be mentally ill to do such a thing — but only be just a little more mentally ill to do so much more damage to others who randomly find themselves in his path. In a way, we should consider ourselves fortunate that Tooley’s mental illness — the one that caused his desire to kill himself in this way — had not progressed to the level of taking others with him.  It can be a thin and indiscrete line at these levels that separates each degree. Sad as it was, the UT campus can breathe a sigh of relief that Tooley’s mental illness fell below that line.

Wilhite is an adjunct professor at the UT School of Law.


 

In his poem “The Waste Land,” the Anglo-American poet T. S. Eliot famously wrote, “April is the cruellest month.” September, too, has been a particularly cruel month to Americans, but not for its role as an awkward transition period between seasons. Instead, man and his guns are to blame for many of America’s autumnal tragedies. From the 2010 shooting in the Perry-Castaneda Library to the most recent tragedy yet, the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, the month of September has seen Americans devastatingly and terrifyingly exhibit the destructive capacity of a gun in the wrong hands. 

Three years ago Saturday, that specter hit close to home for the UT community when a 19-year-old math sophomore named Colton Tooley shot himself dead on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library. Although Tooley spared everyone but himself in his armed trek across campus, he struck fear into the heart of everyone who ran for cover in whatever nook or cranny they could find when he crossed their path.

More recently, on Sept. 16, Texan Aaron Alexis, a government contractor, entered the Navy Yard in Washington for what would have seemed to other employees like a normal workday. Instead, he quickly unleashed a ferocious, merciless reign of terror that left 13 dead in all, including himself. While Alexis’ actions have once again ripped open an old and very deep emotional wound, even more stinging was the revelation last week that Alexis had twice been arrested on gun charges and had been discharged from the reserves for disciplinary infractions. In a country still waging a war on terror abroad, we allowed yet another aggrieved, clearly mentally ill misfit to give vent to his anger in the most damaging way possible right here at home. 

Mass shootings are a particularly visible reminder of a gun violence epidemic that kills more than 30,000 people in the United States every year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

But how do we stop the carnage and terror? That goal is completely uncontroversial: No one, regardless of political affiliation, is suggesting sitting idly by so gun violence can continue
untempered. No one is turning a blind eye or denying the importance of tackling this issue head-on. 

Where people disagree, of course, is in the area of solutions. Gun rights advocates remain steadfast in their belief in the sanctity and inalienability of the right to bear arms while gun control advocates want to halt the flow of guns to criminals in the first place.

Gun rights advocates support placing armed guards and teachers in every school to quicken the response time to unforeseen violence. However, that seems like nothing more than a palliative measure designed to address the effect, rather than the cause, of a nationwide epidemic. Gun rights advocates reason that it’s impossible to completely stem the flow of illegal firearms and assume that it’s essentially useless to try to stop it. We agree with the first part but find it petulant  of guns-rights supporters to dig in their heels and take an all-or-nothing approach to a problem that continues to claim the lives of helpless, innocent victims.    

Because of the variegated nature of state laws on guns, at least some of the necessary solutions are going to have to come from Washington. A good place to start would be with a new federal assault weapons ban. As a Department of Justice report stated in the late ‘90s, “Assault weapons are disproportionately involved in murders with multiple victims, multiple wounds per victim, and police officers as victims.” Admittedly, there’s only conflicting evidence that the original ban, in place from 1994 to 2004, had any effect on gun violence at the time, but that may be attributable to the fact that assault weapons are only used in a relatively small number of gun crimes. Instead, what the law left out was high-capacity magazines, which, according to The Washington Post, are used in “as many as a quarter of gun crimes.” Any new ban will have to place greater restrictions on this type of ammunition to make a real dent in the gun violence epidemic.

Like April, September is a time of great turbulence and change. While the month is about to come to a close, perhaps it can be the catalyst for a more positive change, one that will save lives rather than take them.   

Yesterday, at the North Harris campus of Lone Star College in Houston, Joshua Flores stood outside a cafeteria when a group of students ran towards him, yelling, “The guy has a gun — run, run!” Later, Flores told The New York Times: “I couldn’t believe this is happening.” 

We don’t believe or understand school shootings, but we have come to expect them.

On Aug. 1, 1966, nobody expected shootings on a school campus until Charles Whitman pointed a “deer rifle” over the ledge of the UT Tower’s 27th floor and “started shooting people,” which is what he told a doctor at the campus counseling center he was thinking about doing days before he killed 13  and wounded 30. In the half century that has passed since that day, public shootings — school shootings, in particular — have cast us far away from our grandparents’ notion of what to expect when in the outside world. Tucson, Aurora and Newtown. And before those, on our campus, in 2010, Colton Tooley, a 19-year-old mathematics major wearing a suit and ski mask and toting an AK-47 walked east on 21st Street and shot ten bullets at the ground. Bearing his weapon and a crazed smile, he ran past a window and waved at the students inside. On the street, a girl, hearing gunshots behind her, turned and saw him and started to run, tripping to the ground as if in a nightmare, before getting up to run again. Alerted, the campus and city police chased Tooley into the Perry Castañeda Library, where most spectators froze, according to a professor who had sought shelter and run into the library before he realized the AK-47 had followed. Tooley ran up to the sixth floor of the library and shot himself.

The public discussions since Newtown, deemed the most profoundly disturbing of these school shootings because of the tender age of the first-grade victims, have been unrelenting. Reporters rush unapologetically from survivors to lawmakers. Many of us, truly horrified, gaping and attentive in the days immediately after Newtown, have grown wary of a debate that offered no original ideas.  Then yesterday, it happened again on another campus just three hours from our own. 

You have no choice but to pay attention. Prior to the Lone Star College shooting on Jan. 17, State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) filed Senate Bill 182. If passed, the law would allow concealed handgun license holders to carry weapons on public university campuses in Texas. It is not the first time such a bill has been introduced in this country or in  the Texas Legislature. During previous legislative sessions, heated debate filled this Opinion page and  the bills never passed. Many students and voters believe passing such measures would make us safer by deterring potential snipers or even stopping them, while others, us included, reject that as false logic. We don’t believe concealed handgun licenses qualify our peers or our professors to calmly use firearms if a killer came to campus.

In 2010, those on 21st Street or in the library when Tooley passed them repeatedly remarked how the addition of a gun would not have made the circumstances any less destabilizing or dangerous.

That memory in mind, we urge those who would not normally speak out or engage in a debate as disenchanting as the current gun control discussion to overcome their disgust and voice their opinions if they want to stop lethal weapons from entering their classrooms.

The impact of Colton Tooley firing shots on 21st Street and his suicide in the Perry Casteñeda Library on Sept. 28, 2010, lasted longer than the days following the incident.

A year later, the UT community continues to perfect its emergency response measures, while also grappling with rifts in the student body over gun control issues and creating a network of support for emotionally distressed students. 

Gerald Robert Harkins, associate vice president for Campus Safety and Security, said that since the shooting, the UT Police Department has worked within its own department and with other local law enforcement agencies to smooth over some minor security obstacles that popped up during the response to the shooting.

“We had put together a system of communication that had not been tested under stress,” Harkins said. “Now that we have seen that system in action, we can work on ways to improve that communication system.”

An operating error with the siren system was one of the problems that occurred on the day of the shooting, according to a UTPD report of the event. The siren system is activated by a case-sensitive activation code, which was unknown to staff and caused a delay. Staff has since been trained to operate the case-sensitive system, according to Hawkins. UTPD has also been training with the Austin Police Department to raise coordination of the two forces should another active shooter situation arise.

Harkins said overall, UT did a great job of responding to Tooley’s actions, but the University will continue to look for ways to train for active shooter situations as well as to prevent them.

“Colton Tooley came to campus with 30 rounds of ammunition,” Harkins said. “Had he decided to kill people, we could have had 30 people dead on the ground before UTPD got there. In my opinion, the chances of stopping a shooting like that are pretty slim. We can only look to ways to optimize our response system and work with UT Counseling and Mental Health Center to raise awareness.”

In the past year, the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center has increased its efforts to educate faculty, staff and students about resources available for individuals experiencing stressed, depressed, anxious, homicidal, suicidal or mentally troubling thoughts.

“We have trained hundreds more in the UT community with Be That One suicide workshops,” said associate director for CMHC Jane Bost. “We are out there on campus doing a lot of training, raising a lot of awareness.”

Tooley’s actions became part of a heated debate in the 2011 Texas Legislative session when a bill to allow concealed carry of hand guns on Texas college campuses was introduced by three state senators. The concealed carry measure did not pass this session.

Social work sophomore Kelley Mathis said she has faith in the University’s capability to respond in a future incident.

“I think UT responded well,” Mathis said. “The only thing I feel UT could have done better was getting us the news. The only source to me was TV news, and it was incredibly inaccurate. Rumors of a second shooter and multiple dead bodies created an environment of fear that was unnecessary.”

Printed on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 as: UTPD works to improve emergency response, increase campus security

One year ago today, mathematics sophomore Colton Tooley arrived on campus with an AK-47. After firing multiple shots, he died by a self-inflicted gunshot on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library.

Associate English professor Phillip Barrish had just dropped some books into the return slot in front of the PCL that morning when he heard gunfire. After seeing people running as fast as they could down 21st Street and ducking into the McCombs School of Business across the street, he decided to move, he said.

“What was going on hadn’t yet clicked for me, but I decided to step back into the lobby just in case,” he said. “Ironically, this proved not to have been the wisest decision I could have made.”

A man in a black ski mask holding a gun, later identified as Colton Tooley, entered the library about three seconds after Barrish stepped into the entryway, Barrish said. Tooley then moved past Barrish torward the elevators, the professor said.

“As he passed by, I looked at the front of his mask, still trying to figure out exactly what was going on, and he turned briefly to look at me,” Barrish said. “Even then, it took me a second to grasp that what I was seeing — a man with an automatic weapon in the library — was real.”

Although the situation was surreal, there was not a sense of imminent threat for those in the lobby of the PCL, Barrish said.

“I wasn’t afraid for myself or for others in the lobby,” he said. “Somehow, even though he had a gun, he hadn’t struck me as aggressive. Part of me was worried, though, that he might be looking for somebody in particular on an upper floor. As it turned out, of course, he didn’t want to hurt anybody except himself.”

Faculty and staff on campus keep a stronger eye out now for students who may be going to a dangerous place psychologically, and awareness has increased to a certain extent, Barrish said. He said the members of the campus community that were already opposed to concealed carry on campus have also come to feel more strongly about the issue.

“I remember feeling, right after he had walked through the lobby, that we were lucky nobody in the lobby had pulled out a concealed weapon,” he said. “Even at the time, that struck me as the one thing that could have provoked him to start firing.”

Doug Barnett, chief of staff of UT libraries, was in his office on the third floor of the PCL when he learned of the shooting. Despite the hectic nature of the situation, the safety procedures went smoothly, he said.

“That day reinforced what I think we all took for granted — how every member of the University community is a part of one big community,” he said. “Part of what we want to make sure we’re all doing is looking out for each other and being watchful.”

Journalism sophomore Alyssa Sanchez was in an 8 a.m. journalism lecture in the University Teaching Center when two students ran in to announce that they had heard gunshots outside of the PCL. The building was on lockdown soon after, and students kept up by watching the local news and through utilizing social media and text messaging, she said.

“It was really nerve-wracking being so close but not knowing what was going on most of the time,” she said. “I was scared the shooter might come to our building since it was so close by.”

A year later, campus feels safe again, Sanchez said. Although there was fear and confusion in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the University handled the situation in a way that made campus feel safe again, she said. “Even though the first few days after the shooting, I was scared, today I feel safe walking around campus,” she said. “The situation was handled pretty well, and that secured a lot of the fears students felt this past year.”

Printed on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 as: Students, faculty recall memories of shooting on one-year anniversary

The Faculty Council unanimously passed its second resolution in two years affirming the current ban on concealed firearm carry on campus at a Monday meeting.

According to the resolution, the carrying of firearms on the University campus by anyone other than law enforcement officers is detrimental to the safety of students, faculty and staff.
Faculty Council chair Dean Neikirk presented the resolution on behalf of the council’s eight-member executive committee. He said when a similar bill appeared during the last legislative session two years ago, the council wrote and passed a resolution with the same text. The 2009 bill did not pass into law.

“Given that there are two bills, one in the Senate and one in the House, concerning firearms on campuses, the executive committee felt it was appropriate for the Faculty Council to discuss this,” Neikirk said.

Because the council cannot lobby the Legislature, Neikirk said the council’s resolution remains broad and focuses only on the faculty’s opinion on the issue. The resolution does not directly reference the bill.

During the discussion, associate English professor and council member Phillip Barrish said his experiences in the Perry-Castañeda Library last year, when Colton Tooley fired an assault rifle several times on campus and took his own life, provides tangible context to support the council’s resolution. He said armed bystanders would have caused confusion for the first officer on the scene.

“Again I thought to myself what would have happened if Colton Tooley had already started going up the stairs when the officer entered the lobby, and there was somebody else there with a gun,” Barrish said. “I know officers receive training for that sort of situation, but I think it would have been a very difficult moment for that officer.”

Barrish also provides faculty support to the campus organization Students for Gun Free Schools, which opposes the bills.

Jeff Shi, a computer sciences senior and president of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, said concealed carry license programs teach license holders to assess the situation before acting, which would prevent them from firing on other innocent people holding a gun. He said they are also taught to consider self-defense first and lethal force as a last resort.

News Briefly

The Daily Texan won “Best of Show” at a national college journalism conference Sunday for its coverage of the Sept. 28 campus shooting, when UT mathematics sophomore Colton Tooley fired rounds of his AK-47 into the air and ground before taking his own life.

The Associated Collegiate Press held its annual college media convention in Louisville, Ky., where it staged a competition for all news coverage outlets, including 10 newspaper categories.

The Texan competed in the four-year daily broadsheet newspaper category with nine other college newspapers, including The Daily Iowan, the University of California, Los Angeles’s The Daily Bruin and the University of North Carolina’s The Daily Tar Heel. The Texan’s coverage featured photos that appeared in other publications throughout the country and timeline graphics and comprehensive news stories, including a profile of Tooley and reaction by students on campus.

Daily Texan reporter Audrey White also won honorable mention in the diversity category.

The Associated Collegiate Press, based in Minneapolis, is the nation’s largest and oldest national membership association for college student media.
 

Austin police prepare to enter Calhoun Hall on the South Mall Tuesday morning after a gunman opened fire near the Littlefield fountain and later fatally shot himself on the sixth floor of the Perry-CastaƱeda Library. Austin Police Department and SWAT officers suspected an additional gunman was in Calhoun Hall but quickly determined the shooter acted alone.

Photo Credit: Tamir Kalifa | Daily Texan Staff

The UT campus was on lockdown for nearly four hours Tuesday because of a shooting incident that ended when the gunman, armed with an AK-47 rifle, took his own life after unleashing a barrage of bullets and being cornered by police on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library.

Campus administrators identified the gunman as 19-year-old mathematics sophomore Colton Tooley.

A half-dozen law enforcement agencies, including the Austin Police Department, University of Texas Police Department, the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Austin Independent School District Police Department, responded to the shooting and its aftermath.

Officials said no students were hurt in the shooting, although a couple of students were mildly injured during the evacuation process.

“I am grateful to our campus community for the way it responded to the emergency that took place at the Perry-Castañeda Library [Tuesday] morning,” UT President William Powers Jr. said in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. “I extend my sympathy to the family, friends and classmates of the young student who took his life.”

The lockdown was lifted at 12:15 p.m. The University was then closed and nonessential personnel were released for the remainder of Tuesday. UT shuttles routes ran, but only in the outbound direction so students and staff could get home, said UT spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon.

The incident began just after 8 a.m. as Tooley walked from 21st Street near Guadalupe Street, heading deeper into campus wearing a dark suit, ski mask and carrying an AK-47 in his hand.

The University sent the first emergency text messages warning of an armed man on campus at 8:23 a.m. The message was quickly followed by a warning from UT officials for students and staff to find shelter and lock all doors.

“He had a black mask and he was walking down the street,” said Ruben Cordoba, a maintenance worker at Dobie Center who was working on the plaza level of the dormitory, which is three stories above 21st Street. “I thought he was joking because he had an AK-47 in his hand ... I heard three shots to the left and three shots to the right.”

Other eyewitnesses said they heard as many as 10 shots, and said they thought he was shooting at the University Catholic Church and the South Mall. After shooting, he continued to run toward the PCL.

Lawrence Peart, an international relations junior, was locking up his bike at the library when he heard the first gun shots. He said a taxi came down the street honking its horn to warn the students, but he didn’t think much of it until he saw students running.

“So I start advancing toward the entrance and a man — pretty tall in a black business suit, ski mask and an AK-47 — runs in front of me, so I froze,” Peart said. “He was running down the 21st Street along that brick wall that’s beside the PCL and he glances over at me. He looked at me in the eyes then waved his arm as if to say, ‘Don’t come in here. Go away.’”

Officers chased Tooley off the street and into the library, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Once inside, Tooley ran to the stairwell and climbed the stairs to the sixth floor, where he took his own life at 8:50 a.m., Acevedo said.

“Almost immediately, members of [APD] and [UTPD] ended up on campus, spotted the suspect and gave chase to that suspect,” Acevedo said. “I want to commend the students of the University of Texas that led the way to the suspect — that as our officers ran and tried to find and chase after him, the students kept pointing [the officers] in the right direction.”

 

Authorities held a press conference on the UT shooting at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, tactical response teams from APD and DPS searched surrounding buildings for a rumored second suspect. However, officials ruled out any such possibility and said that reports of a second suspect resulted from conflicting descriptions of the shooter.

UTPD Chief Robert Dahlstrom and Acevedo credited joint exercises between both agencies for the quick response and lack of fatalities.

“There’s no doubt that the training paid off in this situation and prevented a much more tragic situation than what we had happen this morning,” Dahlstrom said.

— Additional reporting by Gerald Rich