DES MOINES, Iowa — In a sobering reminder of the times we’re living in, metro churches received training from the FBI on how to respond to an active shooter Thursday.

It’s the same training members of a Texas synagogue learned last year and had to use in January when a suspect threatened the congregation, then took hostages, including the rabbi. All three hostages made it out unharmed, and the rabbi says the training they’d received was a big reason why.

“I threw a chair at the gunman and I headed for the door. All three of us were able to get out without even a shot being fired,” said Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Isreal.

Thursday’s exercise also involved how to respond to hate crimes and how to report threats of violence.
About 50 people from churches across the state took part.

“We’ll take whatever training we can get if it’s relevant to what we do as a safety team here at New Hope.  And so, this seemed to be very relevant, we looked at it and we actually had a significant amount of our team that either took time off of work or rearranged schedules to attend,” said Jeff Ritter, Church Safety Committee Member.

If the interest is there, the FB is planning to offer additional training.