LCSO hosts church active shooter seminar to teach protection

Southwest Florida residents learned techniques to keep safe during an active shooter situation in a house of worship.

The seminar took place at 1 p.m. at McGregor Baptist Church on 3750 Colonial Blvd.

The class comes one month after a gunman killed 26 people at a First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, becoming the deadliest mass shooting at a church in U.S. history.

The youngest victim was just 18 months old.

In 2015, Dylann Roof opened fire in a Charleston, South Carolina church and fatally shot nine parishioners. Roof faces the death penalty.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office want churchgoers to know what to do if they’re ever face-to-face with a potential shooter.

“It breaks my heart that we have to be here today,” Bayshore Community Chapel pastor Ronnie Baker said.

Baker says the danger posed by active shooters in America is what brought him to Wednesday’s seminar.

“It’s the reality of it. We pray for all those who’ve been injured. We obviously want to prevent that,” Baker said.

The odds of dying in a mass shooting are one in about 15,000, according to the National Safety Council. Which is less likely than an airplane crash or choking on food.

In most cases, the attacker is familiar with the churches, according to the Center for Homicide Research in Minneapolis.

“We want people to know what to look for. See something? Say something,” Baker said.

Reporter:Channing Frampton