Local Reaction to Mall Shooting

Published 11/05 2013 06:32PM

Updated 11/05 2013 06:36PM

LOGAN TOWNSHIP, BLAIR COUNTY - We spoke with shoppers Tuesday about the shooting at a mall in Paramus, New Jersey.

We also talked with local police, who said they are prepared in case something like that happened here.

Tabitha Shimer from Hollidaysburg told us she doesn't worry too much about safety when she goes out shopping.

"I think it could get a little better, though, with how crazy things have gotten over the last couple of years," said Shimer.

Gwen Pattillo from Altoona said she generally feels local stores are safe.

"I think they are, you have no guarantees about anything, really, but i think so," said Pattillo.

It's the "no guarantees" part-- though-- where police come in.

The Logan Valley Mall is in Logan Township, Blair County. Department Chief Ron Heller said his team has extensive training to handle a shooting situation.

"We'd have officers respond for containment, we would have officers respond for tactical to make entry or whatever needs to be done," said Heller.

Part of being prepared is also being familiar with the building, which is why they constantly have officers there.

While they work with mall security officers, there is a difficulty because of the sheer size.

"You have all the stores, each store has storage areas and bathrooms where a subject could hide," said Heller. "It would take a small army to search the mall on a rapid basis."

His advice for shoppers should an emergency arise?

"If you can run, run away from the gunfire, if you can hide, hide."

But maybe the best words of wisdom are Barbara Albright's...

"You don't know what's in the future, but you are prepared as far as not letting fear interfere with your life," said the Altoona woman.

Management at the Logan Valley Mall, which also operates the Nittany Mall in State College, did not want to discuss their emergency procedures Tuesday.

We also spoke with Richland Township's police chief. The Galleria Mall is in his Cambria County jurisdiction.

He said active shooter training and "mutual aid"-- cooperation between neighboring departments and other local agencies-- are the biggest keys to a successful emergency response.

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