“Bad, bad idea,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said Tuesday. “Bad enough what happened — somebody could have gotten killed. Just think of the potential things that could have happened with this — it’s frightful.
That wildly understates the extreme stupidity of what took place at Catholic Charities in Omaha in May. The great minds who run that operation had hired someone to stage an active shooter drill, complete with a man in a hoodie firing blanks and “victims” lying on the ground with with fake bloody wounds.
But Catholic Charities’ managers didn’t tell any of their employees it was going to happen.
When the time came to choose someone to conduct the “drill,” Catholic Charities hired a self-described “citizen police officer” who also happens to be an alleged abuser of young women as well as a child pornographer.
From the Omaha World-Herald . . .
Catholic Charities’ compliance coordinator, Carrie Walter, and Security Director Mike Welna agreed on April 28 to pay [John] Channels $2,500 to conduct the training. Walter stated the idea of conducting an “active shooter” training “had been discussed for some time … due to having the new facility open … which contained a domestic violence shelter.”
Walter said she and Welna had little idea how to go about organizing such training, so they yielded to a security guard’s suggestion of hiring Channels. Channels had claimed to have conducted other active-shooter drills and claimed that law enforcement “would be present during the training event and would even participate and ‘play along’ with the scenario.”
“Walter stated that Channels planned to start by shooting victims outside of the office windows and doors to be viewed by employees, then make his way through the building (with keys provided by staff) hoping to cause employees to flee from the building or hide,” Mois wrote. “Walter stated Channels specifically stated he did not want the Catholic Charities staff to be informed that the scenario was only a drill and wanted to feel as though they were in danger.”
Catholic Charities of Omaha Executive Director Denise Bartels, totally unencumbered by the thought process and employing a mind-numbing lack of foresight, approved the un-announced drill…and ran it five days after the Buffalo supermarket shooting.
It probably isn’t necessary to list all of the ways this stunt could have gone horribly wrong, but a couple of big ones that immediately come to mind include an armed employee opening fire on the faux shooter, frantic calls to 911 — police were not notified of the drill in advance — and a responding officer shooting and killing Channels (or wounding bystanders).
Kleine said it’s also hard to imagine what was going through Channels’ mind: Was this some kind of video game cosplay he found exciting? Channels operates the Exousia Protection Agency that, according to its social media posts, specializes in home security and firearms training. …
Authorities said Channels asked employees after the training whether they had guns for protection; he also shared a business card encouraging them to pay for his firearms training class.
“It’s hard to figure out what possibly could have been his intention,” Kleine said. “He obviously wasn’t someone who took into account the issues or problems that could have resulted from doing it in this manner.”
Channels has since been charged with five counts of making terroristic threats and one count of “weapon use.” That’s in addition to charges he’s facing for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl and producing child pornography.
The county won’t be charging any of the incompetent fools who run Catholic Charities. Attorney Kleine says that’s a civil matter…and you can bet it will be. Some employees were so shaken up they still haven’t returned to work more than three months later.
Intentionally endangering and inflicting that kind of trauma on employees won’t play well in front of jurors. Catholic Charities is going to be writing some very large settlement checks in the near future. It’s difficult to understand why anyone who had a hand in making this clown show happen still has a job.