CHARLES CITY, Iowa - The room was filled at the North Iowa Area Community College Center in Charles City Thursday night.
People of all ages, and from all kinds of different careers, were there to learn what to do, if an active shooter scenario would unfold.
And while many of us may believe this won’t happen in small communities, law enforcement wants to remind us, that it can.
Like most people who pay attention to current events, Jerry Vetter from Charles City, is hearing more and more about mass shootings.
And he wants to be prepared in case one strikes close to home.
“Because you never know what might happen and where. It can happen here just as much as any place and I volunteer at the theater, which it’s happened at a theater and I also work at a grocery store here in town,” said Vetter.
And he’s not alone.
Many of the people attending know that the small town of Charles City isn’t guaranteed to avoid situations like the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado.
That’s why this presentation had listeners at attention as they heard about this and other past shootings, and what to do if a person is ever caught in one.
“I guess I think I know more of what I would have before, just because I know what to do if something, not just be a victim but I guess it just depends upon the scenario of what happens,” said Vetter.
And Chief Wendel with the Charles City Police Department is happy to hear that.
“Well I hope that they walk out of here today with just a few things that they remember if they are ever caught in a crisis situation. that those things pop into their head and they are able to use them at the time, rather than just freeze up or not know what to do,” said Wendel.
The main message?
Those caught in a shooting have three options: to run, hide, or fight.
“One thing hasn’t heard from us for year, and years, and years, are that they don’t need out permission to fight back, to break things if it means saving their own lives. You have our permission to break windows, our permission to harm someone if they are trying to harm you,” said Wendel.
And it seems that three-point lesson is sinking in.
“Run, hide or fight. Just make sure you do something. Don’t be victims by doing nothing,” said Vetter.
Wendel says this is the first time they have held an event to educate the public on what to do during this type of situation.
He says he hopes their presentation is one that others will share and teach in their communities.