Mass Shooting Scenario Unfolds at Unalaska's Port

Monday, March 16 2015

Coast Guard personnel and local ambulance crews worked together to treat simulated gunshot wounds. (Lauren Rosenthal/KUCB)

Chilly winds and whiteout conditions didn’t stop a team of emergency responders from mounting a unique exercise at the Port of Dutch Harbor on Friday. KUCB’s Lauren Rosenthal was there and brought back this report.

It was almost impossible to make out the Coast Guard cutter Munro as it sat at the municipally owned dock on Friday afternoon.

The white ship disappeared behind blowing snow. But the line of red SUVs and ambulances from Unalaska’s fire department stuck out like a sore thumb.

They were waiting for an off-duty police officer to open fire on the cutter Munro.

Kyle Haskins: "Hey, police!"
Sound of gunshots

Clad in a camouflage jacket and beanie, officer Kyle Haskins strode toward the dock and began shooting blank ammunition into the air.

On cue, a handful of Coast Guard personnel lined up in front of the ship fell to the ground with simulated injuries. They were the casualties in this mass shooting drill.

LTJG Garrett Wright: "Ahh, where’s my arm?"
Frankie McCoy: "It’s right next to you."

Lieutenant Junior Grade Garrett Wright played the role of an amputee as personnel from the cutter’s Battle Dress Station attended to his wounds.

Richard Martin is a part of that medical crew.

"So basically, we go to any scene that we can possibly save the personnel," Martin says. "We remove them. But we assess also on scene whether we can save them or not."

Martin watched as Unalaska’s emergency medical responders swooped in and starting affixing tags to victims – sorting out who was deceased, and who was alive but badly hurt.

Unalaska Fire Capt. Salvador Alvarado: "On this side of the chest or the other side of the chest?"
USCG Health Services Technican: "Sucking chest wound, no exit wound."
Alvarado: "It has not been treated, right?"
Technian: "Just the patch."

The patients were transported in ambulances for further care.

It took some work to figure out how Unalaska’s limited fleet could be stretched to accommodate those patients – and how to coordinate the cutter’s crisis response with local police.

Radio calls flew back and forth.

Chatter: "From cutter Munro, this is a drill. Active shooter has been identified as a white male, six feet tall, wearing tan pants, a black hat, a camouflage jacket. Wearing gloves, carrying a long gun. Over."

Communication was a big component of the exercise. The Munro is required to go through mass shooting drills. But they haven’t always focused on working with local law enforcement.

And Richard Martin says the cutter’s last exercise, in Kodiak, also didn’t involve as much planning.

"It was kind of one of those things that just happened and it was like, ‘Oh, what do we do?’" Martin says. "Obviously, it went a lot better this time."

The shooter was disabled by a local police officer. Response times were fast, and communication was pretty smooth – even when things got tense.

Alejandro “Bong” Tungul is a manager for North Pacific Fuel. They have a contract to fill up the Coast Guard’s cutters. And Tungul agreed to play along.

"So while fueling I heard four shots!" Tungul says. "So I run next to the landing craft on that little cabin in there and hide in there."

Coast Guard personnel couldn’t take any chances. When they found Tungul had run aboard the ship, they put the fuel manager in handcuffs for "about 30 minutes."

"On my stomach," Tungul laughs, "laying down on my stomach."

The cutter crew tried to figure out who Tungul was and whether he had anything to do with the violent attack on the port.

Once Tungul was released, crews at North Pacific Fuel and other facilities nearby started practicing their lockdown procedures. 

Those marine support businesses wanted to be a part of the exercise. And as with most activities in Unalaska, they weren’t about to hold out for better weather.

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