Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger and the director of the county police unit that would respond to a mass shooting incident like the one in Orlando, Fla., told an LGBT community meeting Tuesday night that people should think in advance about how best to respond to such an incident.
Manger and four other police officials spoke about a possible terrorist incident and other topics at an LGBTQ Community Meeting at police headquarters in Gaithersburg that was organized by the department.
“We had the director of our Special Operations Division touch on Orlando a little bit and what Montgomery County’s response — God forbid if anything like that would happen — would be,” said Officer Rick Goodale, a department spokesperson who attended the meeting.
Goodale said Capt. Robert Bolesta, who is in charge of the department’s emergency SWAT team, briefed about 60 people who attended the meeting on the department’s contingency plans for responding to mass shootings. He also had advice for citizens thinking about how best to react to such a situation, Goodale said.
“He was talking about if you go out to certain places you have to have a different mindset in today’s world about being aware of things, like where are my exits,” Goodale recounted Bolesta as saying.
“One thing he talked about was the Virginia Tech shooting,” Goodale said. “The shooter went into one of the rooms, shot the victims and left. And the victims didn’t barricade the door after he left,” Goodale reported Bolesta as saying.
“And the suspect came back and shot more victims and killed them. He went to another room where those particular victims barricaded the door so he wasn’t able to get back in. Those people all survived,” Goodale quoted Bolesta as saying.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included the department’s policy for investigating hate crimes and the department’s diversity and community outreach programs, Goodale told the Washington Blade. He said one or more follow-up meetings with the LGBT community were being planned.