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What if there was a school shooting in Lincoln County?

Investigators search for evidence outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, on Wednesday, the day after a mass shooting took place there.
Jae C. Hong/AP

On May 24, 2022, an 18-year old gunman walked into Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas and murdered 19 children and two teachers in one of the latest and all-to-frequent mass shootings in the United States.

Lincoln County Sheriff Shane Johnson

It is human nature to ponder what might happen and what could happen locally as Lincoln County Sheriff, Shane Johnson, spoke during the Weekday Wakeup on SVI Radio this week.

One major point of criticism about the Uvalde shooting is the supposed wait time as law enforcement personnel was on the scene but did not engage the shooter.

“I certainly don’t have any unique or inside information but what appears to have happened is it goes against all recent training in those types of events,” Johnson said about the delay. “In the past it used to be gather, get a team and go. You show up and go and go directly to the threat and stop it. It appears that didn’t happen there. There are different stories about how they were told to wait but it goes against the training that we’ve had. They are taking some heat on that and rightfully so. The reality is that those types of events are dynamic and they don’t go perfect. You have someone with the intent to kill. From what I’ve heard, and I don’t have any other information, there were lives taken while the police were standing by and that is not acceptable.”

So if a shooter situation was taking place locally, Johnson said waiting is not an option.

“With our current training, law enforcement arrives and they go directly to the threat,” he said. “This saves lives by engaging the shooter so their focus is taken away from students and innocent victims. We want to stop the threat as soon as possible.”

This includes waiting for additional help to arrive.

“The current training is you go directly and engage,” Johnson said. “You don’t wait for other officers to arrive. We are trained to go directly to where the action is and try and stop it.”

In addition to the law enforcement questions from the Uvalde shooting, there are those parents who allegedly entered the school to try and find their own children. Johnson spoke about the reality of parents perhaps coming to an active shooter situation in an area with no shortage of gun owners.

“With cell phones the 911 center is going to be inundated because everyone has a phone,” he said. “We will be en route and people will be texting and calling parents and they will be en route with their own guns. The difficulty is we don’t know who the good guy is and the bad buy is. If we have 20 parents with AR-15s showing up then it can be a dangerous situation.”

Johnson said he would not tell parents to stay home.

“I’m a parent and I’d probably do the same thing,” he said. “What I would say is be mindful of if you show up what our role as law enforcement is. You may very well get a gun pointed at you. Just comply and we’ll figure it out. But what we don’t want is to try and figure those things out while a shooting is taking place.”

The area is also full of residents who are proficient with firearms and Johnson stated that it would be possible to enlist their help.

“If it’s people we know and someone that we’re comfortable with we may say ‘fall in and let’s go’,” he said. “There are certainly a lot of competent gun owners who know how to shoot and protect themselves. Every time something like this happens, discussions come up about the Second Amendment. There are 1.2 guns for every person in the country. They are not going away. We are a community that has firearms and that’s a good thing. We have to keep them out of the hands of those with mental illness. We need to continue to work on that.”

Johnson said the state has plenty of work to when it comes to filling in the gaps of information with those who may be a danger.

“Wyoming does not do a good job there,” he stated. “But banning guns is not realistic. In the last 15 years I get asked about that more than anything and I’m not giving up mine and you’re not giving up yours so let’s talk about mental health and address that better.”

Johnson stated that the Uvalde shooter had reportedly showed signs of suspicious behavior but those in his inner circle did not act appropriately.

“If you have questions or concerns, call us,” he stated. “As things come out about this most recent situation, if you see something questionable let’s get into it and solve that situation before something disastrous happens.”

Let us know what you think!