Active shooter training held at Wausau church after mass shootings

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- It has been just over a week since 26 people were killed and 20 were wounded attending church services at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

That shooting, along with others across the country, have people wanting to learn what they can do to protect themselves in the event of a shooting. St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Wausau, Wis. partnered up with the Wausau River District and the Wausau Police Department to offer training in its sanctuary Monday night.

During the class, officers Max LaPorte and Nate Stetzer said the most important thing anyone can do is keep fighting. They said the purpose of the training is not to make people paranoid, but to empower them with the right tools should they ever need them.

"A lot of people walk around not really paying attention to what's going on around them, and they should be saying, 'Well, if something was going on here, what would I do?'" Officer LaPorte said. That's why he stressed situational awareness during the training.

It's focused around three tactics. The first: Avoid. "To avoid the situation, get out of the building, get out of the danger," Laporte said.

The second: Deny, ""locking yourself in a safe room and barricading the door until law enforcement can take care of the threat." LaPorte said.

The third, defend. "We want to make sure that you defend yourself, that you don't just sit there and let whatever happens, happen," LaPorte said.

While this isn't a traditional church event, the goal is to keep people safe regardless of location.

"I don't think five years ago we wouldn't even think to host, I don't think there was a need for it in the community, unfortunately we feel there might be a need," said Tania Grisham, St. Paul's Media Coordinator.

"It's kind of sad we have to do it and it is unfortunate it's something we have to think about, train and talk about, but I'm glad that people are finally coming to realize that it can happen anywhere," LaPorte said.