LYNCHBURG, Va. – “On behalf of Tree of Life Ministries, our heart goes out to those victims. Deep prayers for those victims and those families for what happened,” said Randy Mills, the head of security for Tree of Life Ministries.
A few weeks ago, after the Las Vegas shooting, Tree of Life Ministries trained with T4Tactics about how to handle an active-shooter situation.
“Denial is the biggest thing. It keeps people from wanting to do this training. We want to have an a more open mind and be aware of what's going on in the world and be prepared for anything,” Mills said.
Since the church shooting in Sutherland, Texas, on Sunday morning, Marko Galbreath's phone has not stopped ringing
“So I think that hit home a with a lot of these churches, that you know what? If it happened there in the middle of nowhere in Texas, it can happen anywhere,” said Galbreath, owner and instructor of T4Tactics.
Prior to Tree of Life's training, church leaders say they had the right lessons in place. But now they're teaching their church ushers and greeters to be the congregation's and ears.
"Do they have a regular Bible bag or do they have a huge bag that might have a weapon in it,” Mills said, “They bring stuff like that to our attention. They're more aware of what they're looking for in any kind of threat. They actually able to read people and work together as a team to let us know what's happening."
Active shooter instructors say 70 percent of the shootings begin in the parking lot. For Tree of Life volunteers conducting traffic, being prepared also means carrying a gun.
"We do open-carry out in the parking lot, with our safety vest on and our name badges on. We do want people to know they can feel safe and secure that we're ready to tackle any kind of situation that might happen,” Mills said.