Gloucester Township, NJ (WTXF) - An active shooter response training was held at a Gloucester Township church Monday.
“It’s a shame that we have to go through this during this time but this is the reality of the society that we live,” said Marcos Marte. He’s one of a few hundred people who sat through an active shooter hostile awareness training at Bethel Church in Blackwood. Gloucester Township Police held it to prepare the community in the event of a shooting inside a church.
“The only person that’s going to save your life is you,” said a law enforcement officer. Marte is an usher at Bethel Casa De Dios in Audubon and says he wanted to be there because he’s in a leadership position at his church.
“We need to take charge. We need to be responsible,” said Marte. Police started by going over the church shooting in Charleston South Carolina in 2015 and the other two this year at a church in Tennessee in September and in November in Texas. They showed videos showing how to identify an active shooter, how law enforcement responds and what you can do if you’re at church and a shooting happens.
“We used to often think a church was a safe place you bring your children and your family,” said Minister Janice Graham of White Oak Baptist in Lindenwold. She says she’s learning to look for signs.
“If you see someone come in with a real heavy bag and they’re leaning to the side what could he possibly have that you’d bring to church? Weapons, “she said. Graham is also re-thinking something else discussed tonight whether churches should lock doors during service.
“We’re old school country and we want the door always open but today maybe after this seminary we may call a meeting and start locking doors,” she said.
The Pastor of Bethel Church says he wants to do everything he can to prevent having to do that.
“You have to do as much as you can possibly do and then at least from the Christian experience and tradition we’re going to have to trust the Lord,” said Senior Pastor Kurt Kinney.