BUFFALO, N.Y. – On the heels of last week’s Texas church shooting, a Western New York pastor who promised to hold active shooter training sessions at church services made good on his word Sunday.
Today, Rev. Darius Pridgen did just that, showing True Bethel churchgoers a training video and having members of the Buffalo Police answer questions.
"If you can't run, if you can't hide, then you must fight. Fight like your life depends on it, because it does,” an officer told the congregation Sunday morning.
Pridgen said it’s a societal change that needed to be addressed.
"You walk into a building, who really looks for the exit as a way of life? This is a change in the way of life,” he said.
Churchgoers watched a video of a workplace shooting scenario and learned when and how to run, hide, or fight.
Deputy police commissioner Kim Beaty said although churches are places where you should feel safe, it's important to not let your guard down.
“We cannot become complacent and relax in society when we have people walking around planning actions against the public,” she said.
Beaty strategically placed a stranger in the pews (who turned out to be her husband) and then revealed him to show the importance of awareness.
"I believe in being open with the public. I believe if you people as much information that's available to them to stay safe, that's what matters,” Beaty said.
Pridgen first formed a security team after 9/11 and continues to have trained security personnel.
His church is no stranger to scares either. He told the congregation that the church once was trying to mediate a neighborhood dispute when a man became angry and revealed a loaded gun. Church leaders presented awards to those who helped diffuse that situation.