The suspect walked into the clinic calmly. He was dressed in all black and was carrying a case. MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. — In his other hand was a pistol. As he walked up to the front desk, the clerks informed the man that weapons were not allowed in the clinic.
He did not hesitate to shoot both the clerks. From there, panic erupted.
The shooter continued his rampage up and down the halls of the Adult Medical Care Clinic. The clinic personnel hid or ran for their lives. The staff did the right thing and barricaded themselves in a room to wait for help to come to them.
The Provost Marshal’s Office answered the emergency call and made it to the clinic in minutes. They surrounded the building and proceeded to execute a plan to best take out the shooter.
The shooter quickly realized he was outnumbered and locked himself in a room with the clinic officer in charge. The situation quickly turned from an active shooter to a hostage situation to a barricaded suspect.
These situations can often go from bad to worse in a very short amount of time. PMO quickly took control of the scene and took down the suspect. The patrolmen made their way into the barricaded room and took out the shooter, but not before the shooter killed the OIC.
The scenario was based on the Ft. Hood shootings and emergency agencies responded accordingly.
The Active Shooter Exercise was a collaboration of the Combat Center’s Naval Hospital, Provost Marshal’s Office, fire department and G-7. The purpose was to put the Combat Center’s emergency response agencies to the test.
Exercises like this one identify deficiencies in the system which can be improved.
PMO had done their job in defusing the situation and made sure the area was all clear. It was now time for the clinic staff to take action in caring for the injured.
Mistakes were made in the execution of the exercise, but that was to be expected.
“I think everything went pretty well, in the respect that not everything went to plan, which is good, because we identified weaknesses.” said Navy Lt. James Barlow, training officer, Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital.