Emergency Responders Simulate Shooting Attack in NYC Terror Drill

Emergency responders simulated a mass shooting in a Manhattan subway station Sunday as part of a drill preparing for the possibility of active shooters on the loose at city sites.

The early morning drill had been planned for some time, but it was updated at the last minute in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks: Officials added an attacker wearing a suicide vest.

The exercise, executed jointly with the federal Department of Homeland Security, came just days before the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of the city's most high-profile events.

"In New York City, we are, at this time, very well-prepared and continually improving that preparedness," Police Commissioner William Bratton said outside the abandoned Bowery station in Lower Manhattan.

The three-hour active-shooter exercise took place in SoHo, steps from art galleries and boutiques. Members of the police, fire and federal Homeland Security departments went into action after a mock call reporting a gunman on the station platform.

Of about 30 simulated straphangers in the station, a dozen suffered "critical wounds" from weapons firing blanks. Firefighters removed them on thick yellow plastic sheets and law enforcement personnel took on the threat.

The drill showed that the city is "fundamentally prepared," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The Department of Homeland Security used the exercise to test technologies including GoPro-like cameras worn by first responders and acoustic gunshot detection systems designed to give police and firefighters information to coordinate their responses. Such systems are being developed for surveillance of the subway system, the commissioner said.

"Beginning back with the Mumbai attacks many years ago, American policing and homeland security and federal agencies have constantly been adjusting with everything we've learned from these events, Paris, Mali," Bratton said Sunday during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We're building all of that into these exercises going forward."

Appearing alongside Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Bratton also called on Congress to "start getting serious" about fixing the loophole that allows those on the U.S. terror watch list to legally purchase firearms in the United States.

"If Congress really wants to do something instead of just talking about something, help us out with that terrorist watch list, those thousands of people that can purchase firearms in this country. I'm more worried about them than I am about Syrian refugees," Bratton told the show's moderator Chuck Todd.

Secretary Johnson said though officials continued to "have no specific credible intelligence about a threat of the Paris-type directed af the homeland, officials are "always concerned about potential copycat acts, home-born, homegrown, violent extremism of the types we've seen in recent months and years."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us