City of Bridgeport to offer active shooter training for local religious leaders

Posted: Updated:

Bridgeport will soon be offering active shooter training to local religious leaders in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks nationwide.

Rev. Herron K. Gaston of Summerfield United Methodist Church in Bridgeport is still healing from a devastating loss. In 2015, his longtime friend and spiritual adviser Rev, Clementa Pickney was one of nine people fatally shot at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

"When I heard of that I was numb," says Gaston. "It took several weeks for me to sort of come out of that nightmare. And, and still to this day I grieve the loss of this theological giant."

Dylann Roof, 21, quickly became the face of an alarming trend of mass murder at American places of worship.

"We have to do something to better prepare our pastors ... on how to respond in the event that something tragic like this happens, I mean it was gut-wrenching, and you could feel the effect across all denominations," says Gaston.

There's where Bridgeport Emergency Management Director Scott Appleby comes in. He's heading up an effort to provide active shooter training for religious leaders like Gaston.

"The training goes into how you as a place of worship can be better prepared," says Appleby.

The training will take place at Messiah Baptist Church Feb. 25, and is available to all local religious leaders. Appleby says it will cover a wide array of scenarios.

 

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