Lockdown drills helped Crossgates employees prepare for shooting

November 14, 2016 06:56 PM

GUILDERLAND - While Saturday’s shooting was anything but expected, law enforcement, even mall employees, were ready to react.

NewsChannel 13’s Asa Stackel went inside to the area around the Apple Store where this happened and spoke with store managers about what they did right after they heard the shot. They say they'd been preparing for this.

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Chelcy Moore was helping a customer at Accessorize when she heard a series of loud pops from in front of her store. She didn't know what was happening, but was ready for the worst.

"Crossgates Mall has protocol for us to get everyone to safety. That was my first thought. To get people clear of the area. I had maybe 18 people in my back room," Moore recalled.

Mall management didn't get back to NewsChannel 13, but store owners say Crossgates had a lockdown drill just last month, where every store shut its gates.

Guilderland Police and mall security also had an active shooter seminar in October. 

A worker at Perfect 10 says seven men ran into her store after the gunshot and jumped behind the counter as employees locked themselves in the bathroom.

The regional Orange Julius manager, Robert Rupert, was working the counter Monday. He says he got a call Saturday from his two workers. They'd barricaded themselves inside the back room, just like they practiced.

"I got a phone call from my employees who were frantic. They said there were gunshots in the mall and we're in the bathroom. We locked the doors. They said there were people knocking on the doors trying to get in. I said, 'Don't answer it. Stay where you're at. I'll notify the mall and see what's going on,'" he recalled.

Some waited for hours inside those back rooms, waiting for police. With no idea what was happening.

"People were very scared. They didn't know what was going on. To be in that kind of fear was very strange for us," acknowledged Moore.

"I got that call. I started crying for them. Because they were scared and frantic and they were crying. I couldn't be there to help them," echoed Rupert.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple has been a big supporter of training for active shooter situations. He says whether you’re law enforcement or a civilian, you have to have a plan.


WNYT Staff

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