LANSING | Three tactical unit officers of the Lansing Police Department on Tuesday shot to death a teenage boy armed with a pistol in a hallway of Illiana Christian High School.
Officers exchanged gunfire with the boy, who eventually fell to his death just outside the doorway of Classroom 203 in the shadow of a mural done by the high school’s Class of 2009.
But soon after, the boy got back up unharmed.
The action Tuesday was a drill, meant to help police officers prepare for a potential school shooting situation.
In the drill, the three officers, armed with rifles, worked their way down the hallway towards the sounds of gunfire. Eventually, the student, portrayed by Lansing police Cadet Tyler Schutt, a Crown Point resident, stepped out of his hiding place by the classroom and opened fire on the police.
That resulted in about a five-second exchange of gunfire that ended when Schutt fell dead.
Police Commander Pete Grutzius said no participants were in danger as blanks were used.
Though the smell of gunpowder lingered in the air following the drill, “there were no projectiles flying through the air,” Grutzius said.
Tuesday’s drill, which unfolded a few times with different sets of officers, was part of a week-long series of events taking place at Illiana Christian meant to help train police, while also giving educators a chance to see what police would have to do in an emergency situation.
Lansing School District 158 Superintendent Cecilia Heiberger and several other district employees, including administrators, teachers and maintenance people were on hand for Tuesday's drill.
Heiberger said she was impressed with the way police seemed to keep control of the situation.
“I have a lot of faith in our police department, and I am pleased to see them so well prepared,” she said.
Grutzius said he took particular pride in a drill that took place during the school day Monday drill. In that drill, the police cadets posing as armed bad guys were mixed in with students, and Grutzius said officers were able to end the situation without harming students.
“Nobody got hurt who wasn’t supposed to,” he said.
Such drills have been done semi-regularly since 1999, following the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Grutzius said police awareness has come a long way since then.
“Before, it was like we were crawling,” he said. “Now, it’s like we’re jogging, or on our way to a good run.
“We want all of us to be as prepared as possible,” Grutzius said.