BARSTOW — After Brian Hanson’s father passed away, he was outraged with the Veterans Home of California, Barstow’s policies and blamed staff members for his father’s death.
An upset Hanson angrily left the Veterans Home’s 1100 unit before returning with a handgun and opening fire when security asked him to stop packing his father’s belongings.
This was the scenario used during the Veteran’s Home annual disaster drill on Wednesday.
The drill was put together by the California Department of Veterans Affairs Health & Safety officer Robert Jenkins and the Barstow area California Highway Patrol. About 100 people, including law enforcement and Veterans Home staff members, participated.
“We do an annual crisis drill and this year decided to do an active shooter drill,” said the Veteran’s Home of California public information officer Ron Brandy. “It gives all the different local law enforcement agencies an opportunity to participate. If there really was a crisis, we would be dependent on these agencies. So it’s good to have them in here and figure out how it really works if a scenario similar to this actually presented itself.”
The Barstow Police Department, Barstow Fire Protection District, Marine Corps Logistics Base Fire Department, Desert Ambulance and Mercy Air were the other agencies that participated in the drill.
BPD Lt. Mike Hunter said it’s very important to have the Police Department participate in a active shooter drill. Since the Veterans Home is in the CHP’s jurisdiction, Barstow police would assist CHP because it’s located within city limits, Hunter said.
“Every time we do one of these drills, we learn something new and it improves our response,” Hunter said.
After every drill the BPD participates in, officers critique themselves and continue to improve if such a crisis were to happen in the Barstow area.
CHP officer Mike Ware was among the participants Wednesday and said it was a very good experience.
“Certainly was good, reality-based training,” Ware said. “Especially with the number of active shooter incidents that have happened in the nation, this gave us a chance to prepare if something like this really happens. Plus it gives us a opportunity to work with all the allied agencies in the area.”
Jose Quintero can be reached at 760-256-4122 or JQuintero@DesertDispatch.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @JoseQuinteroDD.