'Stop the killing or die trying': Black Mountain police chief addresses mass shootings

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Officers Sam Stone and Olivia Presley were honored with lifesaving awards June 13 after helping a person recover from an overdose in April.

In the aftermath of recent mass shootings, Black Mountain Police Chief Steve Parker addressed Town Council on June 13 with a safety update after honoring two officers with lifesaving awards.

"It's good every once in a while to be able to praise some of the good things that happen on a daily basis in law enforcement," Parker said. 

Parker awarded officers Olivia Presley and Sam Stone with lifesaving awards for their response to an overdose in April.

How would police respond to an active shooter in Black Mountain?

In light of recent events involving active shooters and law enforcement response, Parker provided a safety update for Town Council. He said such events seem to have become a "daily norm."

"I wanted to take a quick moment to speak about the tragic events of Uvalde, Texas," Parker said, referring to a mass shooting May 24 at Robb Elementary School in which a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers. "Although I don't have all the answers to what and why things happened the way things did in Uvalde, on the surface, without all the facts, it appears some things should've been handled differently."

Uvalde police have been criticized for a delayed response to the shooter, but Parker said he didn't want to place blame or speculate on how law enforcement handled the situation. 

More:Uvalde school police chief defends shooting response, says he didn't know he was in charge

If a similar situation were to occur in Black Mountain, Parker outlined how local police would respond. He said training has changed over the years, beginning with waiting for SWAT to arrive to sending in smaller patrols to the first arriving officer immediately and rapidly addressing the situation themselves.

"Since Parkland, the training has been: stop the killing, stop the dying, and I will add, or die trying," Parker said.

Police chief Steve Parker addressed how Black Mountain Police would respond to an active shooter on June 13.

According to Parker, the Black Mountain Police Department has partnered with Buncombe County to monitor local schools through camera surveillance to facilitate immediate responses should dangerous situations occur. He said only two counties in the state employ this technology that could lower response times.

The Black Mountain Police Department has invited the North Carolina League of Municipalities to conduct a risk review of local policies and procedures July 1. At the end of July, Parker said the league will conduct an on-site review to ensure policies are being practiced.

Additionally, Parker said all BMPD employees have taken National Incident Management and Incident Command training.

"We will continue to evaluate and educate ourselves on where we can become better and more proficient," Parker said. "Over the next year we'll look at the possibilities of adding breaching tools in each car and possible funding sources and resources for a special response vehicle for large scale issues."

Parker said he's confident the department is as prepared as it can be should an active shooter incident occur. 

Black Mountain officers honored

At 3 a.m. April 1, BMPD was dispatched to deal with someone who had overdosed. Parker said Presley arrived at the scene first and administered Narcan to the person, who was unresponsive.

Soon after,Stone arrived and administered a second dose of Narcan, but the person remained unresponsive.

Officer Chris Kuhn presents officer Sam Stone with a lifesaving award on June 13.

"They then started immediately performing CPR," Parker said. "Then a third dose of Narcan was administered, and the patient was revived and he fully recovered."

Though the man recovered, Parker said he declined emergency services' help and left the area on foot. 

Town Council and staff thanked the officers for their service. 

Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or emaille@blackmountainnews.com. Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.