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Police Rush To Active Shooter Call In West Town — Then Told It's A Drill

By  Kelly Bauer and Ariel Cheung | October 11, 2017 12:29pm 

CHICAGO — Police rushed to the scene of what they thought was an active shooter in West Town on Wednesday morning — only to learn the incident was a drill.

About 8:30 a.m., officers were called to a health center in the 1700 block of West Superior Street because there were reports of an active shooter, said Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi. Multiple calls were made to 911 about the shooter, Guglielmi said, but once officers arrived they learned the incident was a drill.

Scroll down for scanner audio of the incident. 

The Police Department wasn't consulted about the drill, Guglielmi said.

Representatives from the Erie Family Health Center said the drill was one in a series of exercises meant to prepare staff. There has not been an active shooter incident at any of the Erie Family Health locations, said Chief Operating Officer Amy Valukas. 

The company has conducted seven other drills at different sites this year, Valukas said, and they've had police present at those. There was a "small miscommunication" with police this time, Valukas said, though she said people from the clinic did contact the local police district about the drill before it happened.

The company's employees "really respect our local police" and the relationship between Erie Family Health and the Police Department, Valukas said.

"We have always had a robust kind of emergency response planning team and set of exercises," Valukas said.

There was no simulated gunfire during the drill, and the teams that conduct them have been trained to do so, Valukas said. The company tells employees about the drills ahead of time so they can choose not to attend, and it also surveys staff afterward, giving them behavioral health services and debriefs, Valukas said.

Audio over Police Department scanners during the incident showed officers quickly responding when reports of the shooter came in. Just about a minute after the first reports came over the radio, a member of the department said the shooting was "not bonafide" and was part of a drill that hadn't been cleared with the Police Department or the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

"Wow," one person was heard saying. Someone whistled.

"Man, somebody should get chewed out for that," another person said.

The officers at the scene reported confirmation that the incident was a drill. Several minutes later, a dispatcher on the radio said a woman had earlier called in saying she'd heard shots fired during the incident and was hiding in a closet. The dispatcher asked whether officers at the scene could find the woman and make sure she's OK.

Apparently after finding the woman, another person said the woman was "role-playing" and knew the incident was a drill.

"Oh, wow," someone can be heard saying over the radio. "Super wow."

The Police Department is determining whether the business will be cited.

Listen to audio from the incident: