By Natalie Zea CBS-4
On a quiet Friday morning at the Falls Shopping Center in Southwest Miami-Dade the sound of gunshots erupt.
They were simulated bullets and it was only a Miami-Dade police training scenario.
The drill began with reports of an active shooter inside Bloomingdale’s on the east side of the mall.
The shooter then runs to the center area near the movie theater, shooting more people.
Mall alarms blare, and speakers air a message to store employees ordering them to close their doors and head to the back of the stores.
Mall security officers communicate on their radios as more officers enter the outdoor mall.
Then, police spot the shooter. With their shields up and guns drawn they take him down, firing several shots.
But surprise, the scenario isn’t over. Reports come in of a second subject, stabbing people on the other side of the mall, near Macy’s.
They set off, in formation in search of that second man and quickly neutralize him. Police say it took 35 minutes from the first officer’s arrival to taking down both suspects.
They then got a full report of what worked and what didn’t.
Police say this kind of drill helps train street cops how to jump into action.
“These are officers you see every day in the community, and we’re doing this specialized training so in case something like this were to happen we would be ready for it,” said Miami-Dade Police Major Arnold Palmer.
Palmer says working as a group is key.
“We believe all of us are involved with the community’s response to something like this so mall security is important. Mall administrative staff is important, all the agencies that work with us,” said Palmer.
Management at the Falls was happy to host this scary scenario.
“It’s our effort to make sure we are prepared and trained if bad circumstances might happen to us or any other malls,” said mall manager Julie Goldman.
Miami-Dade Police are planning to do a similar drill in August on the north end of the county, to ensure officers working in that district will also be prepared, should an active shooter scenario become a reality.