Atlanta SWAT teams were all together for training exercise when real active shooting call came
The Atlanta Police SWAT commander said two brand new Atlanta Police SWAT operators graduated after a gritty, grueling training, which was coming to an end when a call came in Wednesday that was no training exercise.
An active shooting situation in midtown Wednesday left four wounded and one dead, and for hours, the suspect, Deion Patterson, was at large.
SWAT Commander Lt. Mike Carter said the trainees stayed behind, but his veteran SWAT operators, who were all together for the training, all took off in waves.
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“I told the guys, ‘Hey, we’ve got active shooter downtown, so let’s get the trucks and let’s roll,’” Sgt. Chris Brown said.
Carter said he set up a tactical command to direct his people, who hooked up with tactical field officers from different APD zones and other officers already on the scene.
“As wild as that may sound, they understand the danger,” Lt. Mike Carter said. “But they trained for it, trained on active shooter situations a lot.”
Carter said the officers were already suited up and ready to go when they headed out to the Northside Hospital facility where the shooting unfolded around noon on Wednesday.
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“Once we get up there, we’re going to go to each and every room,” Brown said. “So, we’re looking for victims. We’re looking for the perpetrator as well. Our first priority is to get the victims out and to rescue them, the ones that are inured, if they’re still able to be secured. Also, we’re trying to find the perpetrator, because we have no idea where he is.”
SPO Robert Oden said officers have to be 100% clear a room is clear before they move to the next one.
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Carter said he had SWAT commanders from all over the metro Atlanta area calling him and asking if his team needed any assistance. The Fulton Count Sheriff’s Office SWAT team cleared the roof of the building, then the 12th floor immediately above the 11th, where the shooting happened.
Now, the two new SWAT operators said they are ready to be thrust into the kind of situation that their colleagues faced Wednesday.
“Really, I’m not too much worried about it, one because of my faith in God, and two because of the training that the SWAT team puts us through on a daily,” James Young II said. “it builds up our mental preparation.”