Officials simulate school shooting in Berkeley County

By Alan Campbell email

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Screaming students in blood-stained clothes fled Cane Bay High School early Friday morning as police tried to isolate and capture the person who had opened fire in the hallways of the school. Tension was high as officers moved from classroom to classroom, rescuing students and staff in the aftermath of the shooting.

However, the incident was only simulated as part of a training exercise for the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office. The event was held in conjunction with the Berkeley County School District.

With police, fire, and EMS crews littering the school's property, Public Information Officer Dan Moon said the drill was done to see how each of the agencies would react to a chaotic and constantly changing situation like a school shooting.

The scenario was, somebody in the school with a gun and shots fired. We didn't know exactly how everybody would react and therefore, let's put on a scenario like this; let's train for it so we're prepared," Moon said. "We just want to make sure we are prepared to handle a situation like this should it occur."

Teachers and students who participated in the drill said the experience was eye-opening and they felt better prepared for a similar emergency.

"You never know what's going on in a school system, and if you're put in a situation, you need to know what to do," said Senior Katelyn Ashby.

She said she thought the sheriff's office did "an amazing job" during the drill. Ashby was not alone in that sentiment, either. All of the students felt like the exercise was a success.

Dr. Lee Westberry, the principal at Cane Bay, said the school community knew the main goal from the beginning was to protect the students. "I think it went well, overall, in understanding and getting children out and getting them safe," he said.

Now that the simulated shooting is over, the sheriff's office will spend time reviewing the drill and pinpoint areas that need improvement. Moon said deputies focused on five areas: an active shooting simulation, suspect extraction, search and rescue, casualty recovery and media procedures.

The students involved in the scenario were drama students who volunteered to come in on a district workday.

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