EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)-Church-goers at the Bethel Church of God in Northeast El Paso attended a seminar Thursday evening to learn how to prevent mass shootings in church settings and what to do in the event of an attack.
Those attending the seminar said it wasn’t just about learning how to stay safe in churches but in any public place where people usually expect to stay safe.
“We’re not going to go back to a day where these kinds of crimes don’t happen whether its walmart or a house of worship, there’s 350 million guns in the country,” Jimmy Meeks, the seminar speaker said.
Meeks, a retired police officer and church minister of 46 years, travels across the nation to teach communities how to prevent mass shootings and how people can defend themselves.
“Why don’t we have security by the front door or outside you know you don’t have to go and rent a tank and buy a bazooka. You can hire an officer right outside the front door because that’s all where they’re coming from,” Meeks said.
In addition to more security, Meeks suggested the public know how to properly use tourniquets, pepper spray, or other forms of protection and suggests those using firearms be properly trained.
“If you don’t use trained people or your people are not trained properly you’re going to be a liability,” Meeks said.
El Pasoans at the seminar reflected on recent crimes, including the August 3 mass shooting. They said incidents can happen anywhere.
“Obviously with everything going on around here we just had the incident with the McDonald’s not too far from here recently that’s why I’m here just to learn more,” Brian Pruden said.
Some of the seminar attendees believe churches are at-risk for attacks. In December 2019, a gunman opened fire on a Texas church killing two people. A church security volunteer shot and killed the attacker.
In 2017, a lone gunman shot and killed 25 people at church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
“A lot of times churches are unprepared are caught off guard are automatically assuming people coming in is here to worship, they’re good people they’re Christian people and unfortunately in the world that not always the case,” Pruden said.