Cleburne Police Sgt. Neal Sandlin encouraged residents to attend the upcoming Active Shooter Awareness scheduled on Feb. 9.

The class runs 6-8 p.m. at Henderson Street Baptist Church, 919 E. Henderson St. in Cleburne. The class is free and open to all. 

Sandlin, who has been offering such classes through the department to groups, organizations and businesses, said interest in such training has increased following a Dec. 29 shooting incident at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement that left two dead. 

Sandlin said he’s received inquiries from another local church seeking information on forming a security detail.

The gunman opened fire during the Sunday service, which more than 240 congregants were attending. 

One congregant, firearms instructor and former Hood County  reserve deputy Jack Wilson, shot and killed the gunman seconds after he began his rampage.

Wilson’s presence in the church that Sunday likely saved many lives, Sandlin said. 

“Thank God he was there,” Sandlin said. “Cause if you look at that video everyone else freezes up and he was the one guy that kept cool and knew what to do. If he wouldn’t have been there it would’ve been a massacre in there.”

That such shooting incidents have become more common serves as a sad reminder of the need to be prepared.

“Every time one of these unfortunate events happens we see an increase in interest in these classes,” Sandlin said.

Sandlin said he received inquiries the day after the White Settlement shooting about setting class training days up.

Preparation and knowledge are essential and possibly life saving, Sandlin said, adding that he offers the classes both in and around the Cleburne area.

“We’ll go outside [Cleburne] to teach the class if we have to,” Sandlin said. “If your group is looking to take a class, check with your local police department first to see if they offer it. If they don’t, give us a call.”

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