EL PASO (KDBC) — The El Paso Police Department was trying to prepare law enforcement for a possible mass shooting. As part of the exercise, three gunmen were inside the mall, killing innocent people. The police wanted to see how their officers would respond to this type of situation. Even though everyone involved knew it was just training, for some, it felt very real.
"I was pretty scared because you hear other people screaming like, 'Oh my god, help. I'm bleeding really bad," said Juan Cepeda.
"I was just there and they started shooting and I got really scared so I started crying but it did feel real," said Rebeka Misquez.
Teenagers took part in a mass shooting exercise at Cielo Vista Mall Tuesday night they said felt like a real-life massacre.
"Once you saw it, you just see the bang, like the flash, and you just hear bullets fall out," said Cepeda. "They'd be like, ‘Put your weapon down and get on your knees and put your hands up’ and they would do it and if they didn't, they would just shoot them."
They said this training is important for everyone involved.
"For the SWAT team so they can get more training and then for us in case there's a real-life, we know what's going to happen," said Misquez.
More than 40 police officers, SWAT team members and firefighters put their skills to the test to make sure if it happens in El Paso, they're ready to save innocent lives.
"Look across the country at what's happened in the past year, we've been fortunate in El Paso we haven't had one of those incidents. I hope we continue to be fortunate but it's important as a police department that we're prepared to respond if we do have one," said Chris Mears with the El Paso Police Department.
SWAT members evaluated patrol officers to learn and improve their training. Police officers go through this type of training every year but this is the first time it was to this magnitude.