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ND first responders reflect on two mass shootings in one week

Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - During the pandemic, mass shootings were at the back of our minds as America watched millions of people die from a new virus.

However, this last week, two mass killings have brought back the emotions of watching horror unfold in public places.

This week, North Dakota first responders are participating in response trainings and debriefing mechanisms in relation to large scale incidents.

Recent violence around the country is a reminder critical incidents can happen anywhere at any time.

A week ago, a series of mass shootings killed eight people at three spas in the Atlanta area.

“Every first responder is going to have a critical incident in their life. It’s not if it happens, it’s when,” said Chaplin Gregg Carr.

North Dakota Highway Patrol troopers reflected on the tragedy that unfolded in Boulder Colorado when a 21-year-old suspect opened fire in a supermarket.

“We want to be prepared for the worst and hopefully at that point in time, the worst isn’t needed,” said Major Aaron Hummel, North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Ten residents we’re killed including Officer Eric Talley.

“The job they do puts them at risk every day,” said licensed clinical professional counselor Carol Staben Burroughs.

Officers in North Dakota can relate to the loss.

“We sense their pain because we’ve been through it,” said Carr.

Less than a year ago, Grand Forks officer Cody Holte, was killed in the line of duty. “We sense their pain, we have that empathy we can share with them,” said Carr.

“That’s what we hope for is that we leave our officers in as good as shape when they go home as they do when they start a shift,” said Hummel.

In current North Dakota legislation, a bill to ‘Stand Your Ground’ failed in February.

The Senate is now considering two bills which would expand concealed carry and allow firearms and dangerous weapons at public gatherings.

“We’ve seen in recent years that criminals have been targeting churches for their sick acts of violence whether to rob or to murder patriotic Americans exercising their first amendment rights to worship freely,” said Matthew Mammoser, Northwest Regional Director for the Association for Gun Rights.

Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden called upon Congress to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

On Capitol hill, the House passed two bills to strengthen background checks and make them a requirement for nearly all gun purchase, those are now pending in the Senate.

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