St. Pete police conduct mock armed gunman drill at mall

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg police were preparing for the worst when they took part in a mock drill at the Tyrone Square Mall.

Their mission in this simulated exercise was to find an armed gunman.

Even though it was a practice round, St. Petersburg police know this could happen at a very public place anywhere around the city, including the mall.

At around 6:30 a.m., police cruisers sped into the mall’s parking lot and descended on the mall.

Thoughts, no doubt, racing through their heads of who or what they would find once they got inside.

News Channel 8 obtained simulation video from an earlier practice that showed officers inside the mall as a frightening scene unfolded.

The officers, fully armed, went store to store with weapons in hand and ready to come face to face with the gunman.

When we asked Major Tony Gilliam of the St. Pete police about the chilling video, he told us, “Although this is only training, we try to make these scenarios as realistic as possible.”

The job is to prepare and practice for what could be.

“It’s better safe than sorry,” Major Gilliam told News Channel 8.

Their main goal is to find the shooter or shooters and then neutralize them.  They would then work with first responders and help the injured.

“It’s critical that both shoppers and staff and the St. Petersburg police are on the same page,” said Shannon Brzuchalski of Tyrone Square Mall.  “It’s just all about being prepared. With recent events and everything. We just had to be one step ahead and be prepared.”

Officers will be holding these practice rounds through the month of August.

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