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Units practice, prepare for worst courthouse event possible

Investigator Aaron Hanson was searching for additional suspects during August 12's training session at the Pierce County Courthouse. 1 / 3
Sgt. Chad Koranda acting as the shooter barged into a courtroom where Judge Joseph Boles tried to calm him down before help arrived. 2 / 3
Ellsworth Area Ambulance members tended to Lonnie Feuerhelm, who portrayed a shooting victim during Aug. 12's training drill at the courthouse (Herald photos by Jason Schulte). 3 / 3

What would happen if a shooter opened fire in the Pierce County Courthouse?

While no one hopes that will happen, the sheriff’s department, along with Ellsworth fire, police and ambulance, held a training exercise the night of a week ago Monday, in case it ever did.

Sheriff Nancy Hove said the department has been working on this for a month, trying to pick a date which would work with fire and ambulance, along with when the courthouse would be free after 5 p.m., meaning no meetings or jury trials.

The scenario chosen was Patrol Sergeant Chad Koranda acting as the shooter, portraying a father locked in a dispute with his ex-wife over seeing his children. Koranda barged into a courtroom after going on a  shooting rampage throughout the courthouse. Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles met Koranda, attempting to calm him down while earlier signaling for help. By the time Koranda stood over Boles’ shoulder, the help (Tom Bauer and Adam Olson of the sheriff’s, and Darren Foss and Eric Ladwig of Ellsworth police) had arrived and “shot” Koranda dead.

That was only the beginning, as ambulance arrived and tended to the victims while law enforcement searched selected (the ones that were open) areas to see if there were more suspects.

After nearly 50 minutes, sheriff’s dispatch gave the all-clear sign for everyone to hear. All units then converged into the Emergency Operations Center room for an hour-long session on what everyone thought.

For more please read the August 21 print version of the Herald. 

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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