VA Drill Sharpens Skills, Renews Memories

VA Drill Sharpens Skills, Renews Memories

An active shooter drill at the VA Illiana Health Care System in Danville Thursday brought back memories of a tragedy there nearly 50 years ago.   VA Police Chief Richard Varns says he is keenly aware of when a former patient shot three people to death and wounded a fourth at the Danville VA in May of 1970….

[Some officers assemble at Thursday’s VA drill.]

{”The office I’m located in now is one of the locations where the shooting actually took place.  But yow, we’re aware of it – very well aware of it,” said Chief Varns. ”And again, that’s why we do this.  We’re preparing, and we hope it never happens, but if it does we want to be prepared.”}

Chief Varns outlined the scenario of today’s (Thursday’s) drill…

{”Basic scenario – a disgruntled individual walked into the building, somehow got into a secure building – started on the second floor and just began shooting.  We, again, obviously coordinated this with other employees.  We had designated role players.  There was a call to the police dispatch.  Officers were dispatched, made entry and basically did everything they were trained to do,” said Chief Varns during an interview with News.}

[Some Danville VA employees run to safety at a gazebo after being ”rescued” during the drill.]

Officers involved in the drill were able to quickly proclaim the situation was under control.

The Danville Police ERU (Emergency Response Unit) was also on hand and conducted some training after the drill ended.

In the 1970 incident the suspect in the VA shootings in Danville took his own life as police tried to take him into custody in Bureau County.