In one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history, 32 people died when a student opened fire on the Virginia Tech University campus more than five years ago. That terrible incident was the reason why a drill at Chaminade University took place Thursday -- to prepare for the unthinkable.
"Our students are our number one concern," said Melvin DeCosta, director of security at Chaminade University.
Chaminade teamed with the Honolulu Police Department to stage Thursday's exercise. Officers suited up in full gear and spread out through the Kaimuki campus. Two plainclothes officers acted as gunmen.
HPD scanned through several buildings. They surprised students who were unaware of what was going on.
Charity Mae Del Rosario and Simone Komine forgot a drill was planned on this day.
"We came out here to eat and then we heard the SWAT team yell and go, 'Bang, bang bang,' and we were kind of freaked out at first," said Del Rosario.
"I looked; I went crawling around and they're on the lanai with guns and they said, 'He's over here' -- shoot, shoot, shoot," said Komine.
Thursday's drill helps the university update its current crisis management plan. It's also prime training ground for the SWAT team.
"It gives our officers a chance to familiarize themselves with our locations and how we can respond to a situation," said Maj. Alexander Ahlo.
Another campus-wide drill is set for fall and there won't be any warning to test student and staff preparedness.