Shooting Reinforces Need for Armed Security at Houses of Worship: Former FBI Agent

Two parishioners killed in a shooting Sunday at West Freeway Church of Christ

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Former FBI agent and security expert Greg Shaffer said what happened Sunday inside the West Freeway Church of Christ is proof all houses of worship need armed security.

He pointed to the quick actions of the church’s armed security team in shooting and killing the gunman.

“This incident certainly drives home the critical need of having an armed response,” Shaffer said. “Had they not been there, there would have been dozens upon dozens of casualties in that church.”

Video from the church’s livestream on YouTube shows armed members of the congregation taking action within seconds. One church member can be seen shooting the suspect.

Shaffer spent 20 years with the FBI and now teaches companies how to prepare for active shooters. He said it’s clear to him the church security team had training, and stressed parishioners need training too.

While he said the first instinct may be to hit the floor, you’re more likely to survive if you run.

“Be the hard target because the shooter is going to look for the easiest target,” Shaffer said. “It’s going to be the person on the floor, not the person running out the door.”

No matter where you go, he said everyone needs to have a plan of action, and be prepared to react if violence erupts where you are.

“What’s changed is how prevalent it is for someone to walk into a congregation, whether it’s a mosque, synagogue or church, and open fire on a congregation,” Shaffer said. “It is the world we live in today.”

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