Originally created 04/13/02

MCG rescue succeeds



Nikki Bailey walks into the darkened room with her pistol drawn and sees another gun pointing at her from a hole in the ceiling.

"Drop it! Drop it! Drop it!" screams the Medical College of Georgia police officer. Shots ring out, and she backs out of the room, her gun still aimed toward the hidden gunman.

Her partner, Lt. Derik Still, pushes handcuffed suspect Lantz Biles before him as a shield, looking over the suspect's shoulder.

It is all over in a couple of minutes when MCG Police Chief Bill McBride walks into the room and says, "Time."

Only a few blue spots from the shattered plastic bullets remain as evidence of the training scenario Friday at MCG, exercises that are conducted quarterly to keep the officers sharp and show how they would perform under fire.

The exercise also shows a new philosophy among police agencies in handling such events, Chief McBride said. Previously, the first officers on the scene would secure the perimeter, rescue whom they could and wait for the SWAT team, he said.

"Meanwhile, the violence in the building goes on," the chief said. The new approach for a workplace or school shooting is to have every officer well trained in how to enter and clear a room, with the first ones on the scene getting to and stopping the gunman as quickly as possible, Chief McBride said.

In this case, it was a hostage situation in which two assailants grabbed a woman off the street and dragged her into the building. After quickly confronting and disarming Officer Biles, the two officers set the freed hostage off to the side and went looking for the second gunman. After a brief standoff, Chief McBride ended it.

"The hostage was safe," Officer Bailey said. "That's as close as we get to ending the way it is supposed to end."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tomc@augustachronicle.com.