“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
Last week, we reported a church shooting in Canada where an armed, deranged man entered the church and shot a beloved elder killing him instantly in front of his family and friends. Another man, identified this week as Paul Derkach, attempted to save his friend Gordon, and was shot when the suspect re-entered the church a second time.
The suspect was taken down by men in the congregation and turned over to the police.
This church didn’t have a security ministry in place, but as often happens people rise to the occasion and try to find a way to help. In my Church Security Basics Seminar, I debrief the Antioch, TN incident. It was Minerva Rosa, who shook off the fear and responded to her training. She is a trained nurse, and it speaks to how repetition takes over when your heartbeat is pounding in your throat. She quickly assessed everyone’s injury and intervened saving lives. (see video below to hear what she did. She is awesome.
I have developed a course called ABC Lockdown. I teach it to churches, preschools, businesses, non-profits and corporations. It is very simple to teach, and if the topic weren’t so sobering, it might be fun. There is an urgency from people at the start of the class, and those I teach seem really relieved they know what to do. Most folks are really ready to know what to do. Most places simply say, Hide, Run Fight™ or do A.L.I.C.E™ and never take people through the steps of what to do, where they actually get to practice under a little stress.
It’s what I call “A lick and a promise training.” They say, “It probably won’t happen here, so here’s a cute little program you need to try if it does. Everybody back to work!” This is true of most people, and herein lies the problem: It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. Believing this, agreeing it can happen, is the first step in making sure you will be quick to respond if you’ve hardwired your brain for action.
There should be a two pronged approach to your violent attacker church security training, and each element should be instantaneous and coordinated. As a whole, the local church should train leadership (pastors, staff, SS teachers, greeters, ushers) to be Aware & Autonomous, to Barricade at the first hint of trouble, and to Counter violently with hands, feet, head, and improvised weapons (ABC Lockdown) while the security or safety team (or anyone with capabilities in close proximity) attacks the violent person.
In the Canada incident, the people were traumatized. They were stuck in the Denial Phase in the midst of the attack, and probably terrified they would be shot if they moved. Nobody locked the suspect out and he returned, and Paul was shot in the leg while he helped his friend.
His family has set up a GoFundMe to help him in his recovery. Here is the story from their vantage point:
“Paul Derkach was shot in the leg and seriously wounded at the Salmon Arm Church of Christ shooting on Sunday, April 14, 2019. A gunman entered the building, shot and killed one man, and fled. Paul was attending to this man, Gordon, who was like a father to him, when the gunman returned, and Paul was shot in his lower right leg before the shooter was taken down. Air ambulance flew him to the Kamloops hospital where they did surgery immediately. A miracle that he did not lose his lower right leg and foot, the bone was completely shattered and gone and a rod was put in his leg from knee to ankle. He has a long road of recovery ahead that may include more surgeries and medical procedures and in the near and distant future.
Paul is devoted to his family and his church family, and is an amazing, loving dad and grandpa to his daughters and many grandkids. He is actively involved in his community and is well known as a kind friend and light to so many people. We are so thankful he is still here with us.
Our immediate goal is to raise enough money to get him through 5 months of living expenses. Together let’s show Paul love, the way he continues to love and support so many others around him.
Thank you so much for helping to ease the burden for Paul so he can focus on healing from the emotional and physical trauma of this horrific event.”
The family is trying to raise $10,000 to help Paul as he recovers from his injuries. Please consider helping him at his GoFundMe page. Please help them if you can.
Keep your head on a swivel, and train your hands for battle.