The man dressed in all black toting a rifle, shouting and shooting, was just pretending.
He roamed the main hallway of River Road High School on Friday morning looking for pretend victims. He found four. He fired blanks. He proceeded into the library, where he was later pursued by two of the district's School Resource Officers and killed.
The loud, ringing sound simulating gunfire that made many in the crowd jump was real. The somber demeanor and crying eyes of the teachers and staff were real.
"I saw and I heard sniffles," said Kim Franks, the district's health coordinator. "People by me were grabbing my arm. Yes, it was very emotional. I think what makes it even more emotional is we work at the high school and if you look at the statistics it is usually high schools that are affected."
She said it seemed real because it was in her school, in her hallway, in her library.
"I thought, 'Oh my gosh. This could really happen,' " Franks said.
The Potter County Sheriff’s Office conducted the training for all teachers of the River Road district and some teachers from Bushland Independent School District. Teachers and staff were informed on what to look for and listen for, and then everyone gathered in the main hallway to watch the 15-minute demonstration. After it was over, everyone met again to debrief.
Although it was tough to watch, Franks said she is glad she and her co-workers did.
"I just think that it's awesome that we can be more prepared because parents send their kids to school and expect us to take care of them," she said. "And we do everything in our power to do that, whether it's a shooter, meeting their lunch needs or education needs. This was very important."
Following the demonstration, River Road ISD Superintendent Richard Kelley addressed the room.
"You guys did not sign up for what you just witnessed," he said. "You didn't get into this business to be law enforcement. You got into this business to protect children."
Kelley has personally experienced gunfire in a school. He was a young teacher at Palo Duro High School when on Sept. 11, 1992, a student opened fired with a .22-caliber pistol as his classmates were returning from a pep rally. Six boys between the ages of 16 and 18 were shot and wounded. One was trampled and injured.
He said he thought seriously about quitting. He didn't.
"We chose to be in this profession because it was our calling, and no one is going to keep us from that calling," Kelley said. "So the best way I can help people is through training.
"These types of training are very important to you (the teachers), so you have that confidence in knowing that somebody's got your back (the police). It's very important to your kids because they know somebody's got their back. It's important to the community because they know that they are sending their most precious gifts in the whole, wide world to a place that is prepared in the event some evil enters our doors."
And not pretend.