/ Modified jul 30, 2021 6:51 p.m.

Tucson Police resume active killer trainings after pandemic pause

Plus, Arizona Daily Star reporter Caitlin Schmidt discusses the events that led up to a mass shooting on July 18.

The city of Tucson and the police department resumed a series of Active Killer Preparedness Trainings after putting them on pause last year because of the pandemic. The classes are mandatory for city employees but the public can sign up to attend. Tucson Police Sgt. Allen Smith, who leads the class, says the department promotes Homeland Security’s run, hide, fight model: Depending on the situation a person should either run or hide from an attacker, or fight if the first two options are not possible. The first training session of the year was July 26, about a week after a deadly shooting attack in Tucson.

On July 18, Tucson police say suspect Leslie Scarlett shot several people at two locations. At his residence, which was on fire, police say Scarlett shot and killed neighbor Cory Saunders. Police say they later found Scarlett’s girlfriend, Jennifer A. Fells, dead inside the burned home. She was also shot. At the nearby Silverbell Park, police say Scarlett shot two EMTs as they waited to respond to an unrelated call. EMT Jacob Dindinger was critically wounded and died from his injuries on July 29. Police shot Scarlett the day of the attack and he died in the hospital three days later.

The motive for the attack still isn’t entirely clear. But Arizona Daily Star reporter Caitlin Schmidt looked into events leading up to it that offer clues about Scarlett’s mental health and a previous encounter he had with Tucson Police. She discussed her reporting with Lorraine Rivera.

Community members have created online fundraisers for the families of Dindinger, Saunders and Fells.

The next Active Killer Preparedness Training is happening August 16. An online registration page for the event says it is full. Future trainings will take place monthly.

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