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North Austin Muslim Community Center hosts active shooter training

In response to the horrific New Zealand shootings that killed 50 people at two different mosques, action is being taken right here in Central Texas.

AUSTIN, Texas — It's been a little more than a week since the horrific shootings at two different mosques in New Zealand. On Saturday, the North Austin Muslim Community Center held an active shooter training in an effort to help the community understand what to do should a situation like that happen here. 

If you've ever been to this specific mosque in North Austin, you'll see it's a welcoming home for the Muslim community and everyone in the area. 

"It's our heart, it's our home -- it means everything to us," said Islam Mossaad, the imam at NAMCC.

"It's also a place where I bring my own daughters to come and worship, but also to play with their friends and have a good community family experience."

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It's the same with so many families that use the facility, which is why they feel it's time to take action.

"The reaction we had to the New Zealand attacks was definitely grief and sadness, but also what do we do to prepare ourselves for any similar incidents here in Austin?" said Mossaad. 

The Travis County Constable's Office along with Texas State's ALERRT program took the lead for the event.

"We're helping them to talk about it and to develop a plan, and to do more than just hide," said Michael De Leon, a senior deputy with the Travis County Constable's Office who spoke at the training.

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Some of the plan has to do with one of the main lessons during the training: avoid, deny and defend. 

That means having an exit strategy, a place to hide and, if those fail, defending yourself if there's an active shooter. 

“We’re helping them to talk about it and to develop a plan, and to do more than just hide, to do more than play dead -- to stay alive," said De Leon.

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"I think people still feel safe at this mosque but this event makes us more aware," said Mossaad. 

Awareness and safety is a top priority especially with the holiday of Ramadan just around the corner in May.

"We will try to find the best solution for a potential threat that may arise at any time," said Mossaad. 

The leadership within the community center will possibly form a safety committee.

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