As FBI warns of copycat attacks, Clay County trains school guardians

Training happened to take place following 2 mass shootings this weekend

By Kelly Wiley - I-TEAM reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - As the Federal Bureau of Investigation warned of copycat threats following two deadly mass shootings over the weekend, the Clay County Sheriff's Office happened to be training school guardians for active shooter scenarios. 

The FBI told its field offices in Jacksonville and across the country that it's concerned about people mimicking the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

According to an FBI spokesperson, the FBI remains “concerned that a U.S. based domestic violent extremist could become inspired by this weekend’s attacks and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence.”

The spokesperson went on to say, “This concern was discussed on a call this weekend with SACs (Special Agents in Charge) and state/local partners. As always, FBI headquarters is in constant communication with FBI field offices to ensure the threat from domestic terrorism and hate crimes is continually being assessed, and the FBI will continue to share pertinent information.” 

In a media release, the FBI also asked the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online.

A spokesperson for the Clay County Sheriff's Office told News4Jax, “We are in continuous contact with local FBI officials in an attempt to be proactive rather than reactive in response to potential situations that could cause loss of life.” 

On Monday morning, following the weekend of violence, the Sheriff's Office happened to be training Clay County school guardians to respond to threats of violence.

“First officer on scene, their mission is to, if there is still killing and injuring going on, to approach the assailant immediately on their own, don’t wait for anyone … go straight in and get the bad guy,” said Lt. Anthony Dangerfield, with the Sheriff's Office Training Division. “Because we want to stop the killing immediately.”

The training was not a response to this weekend's deadly shooting, but the countless mass shootings before it. The preparation is not only in the training, but in the warning signs. 

"It doesn’t just happen in school. It happens everywhere. That’s why we train," Dangerfield said. 

The guardians graduate from their training Thursday. According to Dangerfield, they are required to pass at a higher level than the police academy.

The Sheriff's Office offers active shooter training for community groups and churches. The Sheriff's Office said it does these trainings frequently and anyone interested in participating should contact the agency.

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