SPOKANE, Wash. -- The first police arrived at Sandy Hook Elementary just after 9:30 ET Friday morning.
Officers rushed to the building, with first responders calling for state and SWAT backup to assist. All authorities prepared to expect the worst.
It’s something police never want to see, but it’s something even they all, including local agencies, train for.
“I do not understand it. It’s horrific. It is,” Ofc. Terry Preuninger, local SWAT Team leader with the Spokane Police Department, said.
Watching the images from a school shooting affects everyone on the scene, almost especially first responders.
Ofc. Preuninger’s unit specializes in active shooter situations, much like what unfolded in Conn.
“Part of the training that we put our officers through is literally how to address the carnage and some of the horrific things we are going to see.”
He says he knows of three active shooter situations that have happened in the community’s past, and it never gets easier to handle.
Preuninger advises the public to be mindful of their surroundings in these cases.
“We are free to move about, which we should be. As long as we maintain that, it’s is a good thing. We're vulnerable, so the best thing we can do, as a community, not just law enforcement, but as a community, [is to] stay vigilant. You have to focus on what can you do. ‘What will I do when those things occur?’”
Ofc. Preuninger says these shootings are on the rise. The number has skyrocketed in the last 30 years.