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Retired police officer, active shooter response consultant shares insight after Walmart shooting

Tuesday’s attack in Chesapeake is the 15th mass shooting location that Marko Galbreath has visited since he began his training.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — As investigators learn more about the tragedy at a Chesapeake Walmart, a retired cop and expert in active shooting situations says people need more training.

Marko Galbreath is a retired police officer of more than 20 years.

Now, he teaches active response training through his company, T4 Tactics, based out of Lynchburg. He travels the country to provide training for churches, companies and other groups.

“These events, most of the time, are preventable through warning signs,” said Galbreath.

This week, Galbreath is in Chesapeake, after a Walmart employee shot and killed six people and injured others Tuesday night.

This is the fifteenth mass shooting site Galbreath’s been to, including the University of Virginia grounds earlier this month.

Over the years, Galbreath claims he’s interviewed more than 70 people directly involved in each tragedy, including law enforcement, victims and witnesses.

“In order to find out the failures and successes of something like this. That’s how we learn,” said Galbreath.

On Wednesday, he traveled to Chesapeake to gather information and use what he learns to train employers and everyday citizens. He hopes to prepare people on how to respond, but also how to check for potential warning signs.

On Friday, Chesapeake officials shared a manifesto found on the gunman’s phone in the store.

In the note, the shooter complained about his co-workers, referred to murder and asked for forgiveness.

“My God forgive me for what I’m going to do,” the note read.

Police confirm the disgruntled employee used a 9mm handgun, which he legally purchased the same day as the attack. He did not have a criminal record, according to authorities.

At this time, it’s unclear if the company knew of any complaints about the gunman prior to the shooting.

Galbreath said companies need threat assessment teams that can pick up on “unusual behaviors” or what he calls "pre-attack indicators.”

“People being off their baseline, if people are being teased,” he said. “Does this person need counseling? Do they need help? Do they need termination? Do we need to call law enforcement?”

Galbreath also said companies should provide more extensive training for mass shootings. He said teachings like, “Run, Hide, Fight,” are good, but there’s more that people and companies can do to prepare that's specific to certain locations and environments.

We don’t want to live in fear or paranoia, but we have to have the knowledge, skill and understanding on how we are going to handle this,” he said. “They’re a reality.”

Galbreath retired after years working as a police officer in Daytona Beach, Florida. Most of his work involved investigations, SWAT teams and hostage negotiations. He relocated to Lynchburg in 2007, and not long after, the mass shooting at Virginia Tech took place.

That’s what motivated him to start his company. He hopes for the day his services are no longer needed.

“I hope one day we don’t have active shooters. I hope I have to close my doors. I pray for that,” he said. 

On Monday, the City of Chesapeake will host a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Walmart shooting. It will take place at Chesapeake City Park at 6 p.m.

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