CLAREMONT - Sounds of gunshots, screams and sirens on Friday echoed throughout the Performing Arts Center on the Scripps College campus.
Los Angeles County firefighters and sheriff's deputies as well as Claremont police officers and personnel from other agencies and schools went to the center to participate in active shooter training.
During the drill, law enforcement officials and firefighters practiced how they would deal with a gunman on campus.
"Recent events kind of illustrate the need for it," said Brice Stella, a sheriff's deputy who works with the county's SWAT team.
The drill came weeks after the massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut that killed 20 young pupils and six staff members. Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who survived being shot in the head in January 2011 near Tucson, graduated from Scripps College.
"But amazingly enough, (the drill) was set up before all that happened," Stella said.
"This kind of training has been going on since right after Columbine really, when nationally, law enforcement changed the way they respond to active shooters."
Two students on April 20, 1999 killed 12 students and one teacher during a shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.
"Really it's been an opportunity for us to provide a venue for important training," Scripps College President Lori Bettison-Varga said.
Onlookers said they were surprised about the realism of the training.
"I jumped," said Stephen Hamilton, principal of Danbury Elementary School in Claremont.
The drill was "really sobering ... It's good for everyone to see how to respond."
The Performing Arts Center is at 10th Street and Dartmouth Avenue.
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