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Pueblo police address challenges of active shooter scenes - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Pueblo police address challenges of active shooter scenes

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PUEBLO -

We learned Thursday that shooting suspect Scott Ostrem wasn't the only one police say was inside the Thornton Walmart with a gun.

During a news conference Thursday, Thornton Police explained why it took so long to identify the gunman--saying it was still an active shooter situation when they arrived, and describing the scene as mass chaos.

After they were able to finally clear the building and start going through surveillance video, they noticed other people had concealed weapons drawn -- so they needed to be certain they identified the right person.

Ostrem open fired on Walmart customers Wednesday night, killing three people.

Other customers were carrying guns as a means of protection, permitted under state law.

The Pueblo Police Department admits that can pose a challenge when they're trying to identify a shooting suspect.

"We don't want to cause anyone harm who are just innocent bystanders," said Captain Kenny Rider.

So they've changed how they train officers for these types of situations.

"More and more people are carrying these days.  we recognize that and train our officers to just have tactically sound operations when they deal with situations, to evaluate the entire scene, identify the real threat, and then take action as necessary," he explained.

But having that 1st line of defense, before police are able to arrive on scene, gives peace of mind for some shoppers.

"People should be able to have their own concealed weapons because you just never know," said Walmart shopper Tom Brunjak.

"If we can just get the word out, then maybe the people that attempt to do these horrible acts will think twice about doing them," he added.

Brunjak says he didn't hesitate walking into a Pueblo Walmart on Thursday.

"It's just a normal day.  It's unfortunate these crazy things are happening more often," he told News5.

Wendell Lamar stopped in at the same Walmart Thursday, telling News5 he refuses to let fear influence his actions-- especially something as simple as picking up groceries.

"I wasn't nervous at all.  I went in, did my shopping, and came out," he explained.

Lamar says he always walks around with protection. 

"God is with me.  Whatever I do, God is with me."

But he believes citizens deserve the right to other types of protection--including guns.

"Everybody needs to feel safe--with the ISIS thing and terrorists and stuff.  Yeah, I'm for it--absolutely."

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