John Channels was hired by a real life employer to ambush its Nebraska office building simulating a mass shooting with an assault rifle holding blank cartridges and actors covered in fake blood. However, only two in the building knew of the active shooter drill, which led to a traumatizing show, and ended with Channel’s arrest for terroristic threats.
Catholic Charities, who were new to the building, had ordered an ambush on their building simulating a mass shooting on May 19. This “drill” began with Channels, wearing a dark hoodie and mask, firing blanks into the air and banging on the windows of a conference room from outside of the building. This caused genuinely terrified workers to flee the conference room and stumble on hired actors bleeding fake blood in the hallway.
Employees rushed to the building’s exits and many called 911. The police was not alerted ahead of time about the drill so they responded as if it were a legitimate active shooter incident. Channels was later arrested on five charges of terroristic threats, a separate gun count and was placed on bail at $300,000.
Prosecutors note that Channels was lucky no one was seriously injured. It was also uncovered that Channels had gone around asking ‘’hysterical” employees if they wanted to purchase a gun from him and lessons.
Channels’ attorney pointed out that the hysteria brought on by Channels was ultimately what Catholic Charities had ordered, “be real life-like.” Also, Channels had explained the exercise to the supervisors ahead of time in detail including requesting employees be kept in the dark and they okayed it.
Catholic Charities has denied asking for the drill to be so elaborate and claimed Channels had misrepresented himself and did not follow agreed upon procedures including alerting law enforcement of the drill. Channels, however, apparently did attempt to alert the Omaha police through written notice.
Channels’ attorney plans to depose Catholic Charities’ supervisors to prove Channels wasn’t the mastermind in order to eliminate the terroristic threats charges. Channels was taken into custody before obtaining written proof that Catholic Charities ordered the drill. In the end, Channels not only faces charges for the drill incident but also for allegedly sexually assaulting a girl and for production of child pornography, which he was arrested for in May.
Catholic Charities will also likely face legal liability for the horrendous effect this had to most of its employees.
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