NORTHVILLE TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Exclusive new documents reveal a gun was visible in an employee’s car the day of an “active shooter” drill at a psychiatric hospital for children in Northville Township.
The center held an unannounced “active shooter” drill at the Hawthorn Center at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2022. The Hawthorn Center is a state-run children’s psychiatric hospital managed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
People inside the center called 911. They were terrified, and employees working at the center said it was chaos inside the building. They truly believed there was an armed intruder among them.
Documents have revealed that 22 police officers rushed to the scene. Police made contact with two people in front of the building who told them that they were employees and the “active shooter” situation was just a drill.
The employees were told to remain on the ground until officers could confirm it was a drill, and it was. Police had not been told that the center would be holding an “active shooter” drill that day, the reports show that they believed shots had been fired.
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‘The (redacted) was in plain view through the side window’
There is something else that happened that day that has resulted in a hospital employee being suspended.
Unlocked cars were searched during the drill. A report from Michigan State Police stated that “the (redacted) was in plain view through the side window.” Sources confirmed to Local 4 Investigators that it was a gun.
An employee had a gun in their unlocked vehicle, in plain view through a side window of their car. That employee has been suspended with pay pending an investigation.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services did send a statement in regards to the drill stating it, “regrets that our patients, staff and community were negatively affected by the unfortunate incident in December.”
The full statement is available below:
“The health and safety of our staff and patients is our top concern. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services regrets that our patients, staff and community were negatively affected by the unfortunate incident in December. We commend our staff who worked quickly to engage law enforcement partners and the responding agencies who worked to resolve the situation. The Joint Commission requires the state psychiatric hospitals conduct a hazard vulnerability analysis at least every two years to identify potential emergencies, including active shooter drills. As part of exercises to test emergency operations plans and response, procedures are in place to conduct drills in a safe manner and require protocols be followed and proper notifications made to local emergency responders. MDHHS is working with township law enforcement and the Michigan State Police on an improved active intruder training and drill process as part of updating its emergency operations policy to ensure these polices are followed during future drills.”MDHHS Spokesperson Lynn Sutfin
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