It felt like a real-life drama when a “shooter” entered New Jersey City University’s School of Business and fired his gun to test how well Jersey City police and other authorities would respond to an active shooter episode.
Once inside, he fired off a shot that sent off a loud boom to the second floor where media were allowed to watch the training exercise as things quickly escalated.
He then ran up the stairs to the second floor where he fired two more slugs before running down a corridor.
Law enforcement just as quickly arrived, the first wave of SWAT teams barreling through the entrance with their semi-automatic guns raised, having to step over two “victims” felled by the shooter.
They then proceeded upstairs in the direction the shooter was reported to have barricaded himself.
Heavy reinforcements arrived, along with EMS workers to treat “victims.” An additional gun shot was fired after the SWAT teams stormed up the stairs.
Soon thereafter, the “shooter,” “mortally wounded,” was carried away. Those who were trapped on the second floor were escorted by police down the stairs, but some received multiple wounds in the leg and torso and needed assistance to exit the building.
For the past three years, Jersey City has contracted with a security firm, Tomahawk Strategic Solutions, led by former Navy SEALs who had long tenures in a variety of U.S. Military branches who consult with corporations, cities and law enforcement agencies to improve their security needs.
Before the onset of the active shooter exercise, Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea said this training exercise was routine and not in response to any tragedy in particular, such as the Parkland, Florida high school shooting in February.
“No, it is not. We’ve been doing this exercise with our vendor since 2015 and we have been steadily improving the capabilities of our units. As we’ve been bringing in more units as we go and as we get better at it,” said Shea.
“Getting better is a relative term, we’re never going to be satisfied with our response, but we’re going to continue to try to improve.”
We followed up to learn if the timing of today’s exercise is in response to any credible threats directed towards the city.
“We’re a huge part of the New York Metropolitan area, we’re a major city with a major financial district in our own right, and we have major universities and schools that have proven to be attractive targets in other cities,” Shea said.
“We’re very happy that we haven’t had an event like that here, but we think we would be neglecting the city if we didn’t prepare for the possibility. So we’re going to continue making sure that we have the capabilities to address any threat to our taxpayers that arises.”
We also interviewed Tomahawk’s President, Michael Biller, at the conclusion of the exercise where the “shooter” was apprehended by the Jersey City Police Department.
“Their response time was phenomenal, I’m very impressed with all the multiple responding authorities that participated and conducted themselves,” exclaimed Biller.
“The city is in fact doing some very advanced concepts such as running rescue task force, which is integrating medics to ensure that [when there is ] a response to interdict the shooter we also have a medic or someone who is trained to start treating victims.”