False active shooter threat at David Lawrence Center in Naples

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia
Published: Updated:
Law enforcement swarm the scene in Collier County. (Credit: WINK News)
Law enforcement swarm the scene in Collier County. (Credit: WINK News)

An active shooter false alarm draws a massive law enforcement response. Deputies and the SWAT team swarmed the David Lawrence Center in Collier County Tuesday afternoon.

Employees at the David Lawrence Center called 911 after a computerized active shooter alert.

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said the active shooter alarm that many businesses, commercial enterprises and schools can be triggered by any person in the system. Then, the rest of the campus can be alerted within seconds to a potential problem.

Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk talks to WINK News at the scene of the false active shooter Tuesday afternoon in the video above.

In large numbers, investigators went to the adult outpatient building. That is when Scott Burgess, CEO and president of the David Lawrence Center, said training kicked in.

“We always felt safe and secure,” Burgess said. “We couldn’t be more thankful. It really is to the credit of the sheriff and the training that they do. And in addition, we take these things seriously like many people in this country nowadays.”

The sheriff’s office said the caller did not hear or see anything suspicious but felt it was their duty to call.

Rich Kolko, WINK News safety and security specialist, said people in the facilities, schools and stores must know what to do when there is a problem.

“If there’s an active shooter, might be a fight, fire, flood,” Kolko said. “There might be a reason to exit there and have an exit strategy in place.”

Sheriff Rambosk told us the critical part of the investigation is figuring out what exactly triggered the alert system. He said they would not rule anything out.

“She cried. It was scary.”

The evacuations and calls put many families in panic. Deputies moved people from the David Lawrence Center to a nearby church.

A sigh of relief, a blessing, are words used to describe the ending to a chaotic day.

The hours of not knowing if they were safe left everyone inside the David Lawrence Center scared and confused. This includes Julie Diehl, who was not sure what was happening.

“One of my friends called me she told me do not leave there’s an active shooting situation,” Diehl said. “So I notified the girls upfront. I said we’re going in lock down, close the blinds, shut the doors and get in the hall.”

Diehl, who works on the campus, said their training quickly kicked in.

“We didn’t freak out; we went into action,” Diel said. “What we did it’s amazing, you know? When you have to you dig deep and do what you’re taught.”

WINK News spoke to one employee who was also evacuated to a nearby church, who said it was nerve-wracking to be in that situation.

“They were going through rooms and escorting staff and clients out one by one,” said Debora Cruz, who was on the phone from inside the church.

Her mother waited outside and talked her through it.

“She cried,” Graciela Cruz said. “She cried. It was scary.”

Everyone was just glad the response was quick and authorities did not find an active shooter, including Diehl, who said there is no way to measure her gratitude.

“I’m going to get teary-eyed right now,” Diehl said.

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