SEBASTIAN - On Dec. 14, 2012, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. took the lives of 20 children and six adults. One of the first responders that day, Deputy Clifford J. Labbe Jr., will give a talk on active shooter safety at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Sebastian.
The free event on Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. is open to the public.
“These forums are designed to enrich, improve, and protect the lives of our neighbors,” said the Rev. Dr. Sidney Nelson. “In this forum, our desire is to give positive, practical direction to those who may get caught up in such a chaotic and dangerous event. Such preparation could save lives.”
Deputy Labbe was a Connecticut State Police incident commander at the Sandy Hook tragedy. He is now an Indian River County sheriff’s deputy. He will explain steps to take if caught in an active shooter situation, whether in a school, a church, a concert, or anyplace else.
“I’ll explain what to do, how to react, if they are ever in a critical incidence,” said Deputy Labbe. “It’s part of learning situational awareness for critical events.”
“If you are, say, in a church, if you can get out, get as far away as possible, if not, hide or barricade yourself,” said Deputy Labbe. “Silence your phone, turn off lights. If the shooter does enter, be prepared to fight, use anything that is available - a fire extinguisher, a knife, whatever.”
At Sandy Hook, 60 miles north of New York City, 20-year-old Adam Lanza committed the deadliest mass shooting at a primary school in U.S. history. He killed his own mother at their home before the shooting, and shot himself at the end.
When officers entered the school about 10 minutes after the first 911 call, 14 minutes after the shooting started, the brief rampage had already ended. The shooting lasted less than five minutes, with 154 shots from the rifle and two shots from a pistol.
No shots were fired by the police.
The primary weapon used in the attack was a "Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon," Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance told media after the event. Information presented at that news conference said that the rifle, called a Bushmaster XM15-E2S, is Bushmaster’s semi-automatic version of the AR-15, which is the civilian version of the military’s M-16.
Prior to joining the Connecticut State Police, Deputy Labbe served four years in the U.S. Air Force. He was a CSP officer from 1992 to 2014, when he retired as a lieutenant. After retiring, Deputy Labbe worked in Abu Dhabi, training police in firearms usage and active shooter response.
Now his Indian River Sheriff Department responsibilities include school resource deputy, critical incident school safety instructor, active shooter instructor, and crisis negotiator.
Christ the King Lutheran Church is located at 1301 Sebastian Blvd., Sebastian. For more information, call the church at (772) 589-7117.