John Channels, 27, of Nebraska has been charged with multiple counts of terroristic threats and one count of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony after an absolutely disastrous active shooter drill at a Catholic Charities location in Omaha.
The Omaha World-Herald reported Channels said management from Catholic Charities wanted him to make the drill as realistic as possible.
He definitely followed that directive.
Channels—whose LinkedIn profile describes him as both a "Federal Police Officer" at Offutt Air Force Base and CEO of Exousia Protection Agency—reportedly entered the premises on May 19 after having "staged unidentified individuals throughout the Catholic Charities location to act as victims to be viewed by employees as they fled the building's entrance and exit locations," according to court documents.
He began by shooting blanks at the window of a conference room where several employees were gathered.
Catholic Charities employees were not informed of the fact this was a drill and believed it to be a real active shooter situation. This occurred only 5 days after the Buffalo Supermarket Shooting, and caused about as much chaos and terror as one might expect.
One employee even said she jumped off a retaining wall after hearing shots behind her and assuming she was being fired upon. She had hoped to hide from the shooter in a dumpster.
An older employee said she knew she would be unable to escape the shooter or shooters and simply assumed her life was over.
She recalled thinking:
"This is it, I'm done."
As if to add insult to injury, Channels reportedly went around to employees asking if they wished they had weapons and offering to sell them guns and training in how to use them after the disastrous drill.
You can view local news coverage of the incident below:
There is ongoing disagreement between Channels and representatives of Catholic Charities over whose idea it was to make the drill as realistic as possible.
Channels claims it was their request, whereas Catholic Charities Executive Director Denise Bartels said:
"We deeply regret following his recommendations and selecting him for the training."
"He clearly misrepresented himself and his qualifications."
"He did not follow the agreed-upon procedures for the training, mishandled its implementation and did not complete the pre-training communication with Omaha police and 911 dispatchers."
Channel's attorney Erin Wetzel said:
"It's important to note that several of [the directors] went along with it, and while it was happening, they were not informing employees of what was going on, even as they were asking."
Channels also asserts he did, in fact, inform law enforcement the drill would be happening on May 19.
He claims there is footage that proves he dropped off written notice of the drill to Omaha police, Douglas County Sheriff's deputies and Nebraska state troopers.
"He was assured at each place it would get to the appropriate person."
Twitter users were incredulous about the whole situation.
The botched active shooter drill at Catholic Charities in Omaha isn't the only thing Channels is currently facing criminal charges for.
Just 10 days after his arrest for the incident at Catholic Charities, Channels was arrested for a completely different crime.
Channels has been charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child, visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct of a child and attempted intentional child abuse in relation to his treatment of a child taking Taekwondo lessons from him.