PARKLAND, Fla. - As students push "never again" at the political level, a private company is working in a different way to make schools safer and find out exactly what went on inside Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day when 17 people lost their lives.
“Those kids and those teachers should be praised as heroes for what they did," said Tom Czyz, CEO of Armoured One.
Czyz, a seasoned law enforcement officer, founded Armoured One following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., five years ago. Armoured One now hosts hundreds of active-shooter training sessions for schools around the U.S. every year.
"What we want to do is educate people that you can survive this. You can make it through it," Czyz said. "We want to empower you."
The company responds to school shootings to fully understand how they happened and better train schools to prepare for similar situations in the future.
"We investigate each and every active shooter that happens at schools across America and that’s to revamp our training to make sure that we’re training people the right way that’s going to save lives," Czyz said.
The shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School is one of more than 50 shootings Armoured One has responded to over the last five years in order to put together their own report of the events that unfolded.
“We’re not brought in. We don’t get paid by anyone to come here," Czyz said. "We do this all on our own to make sure that the training we’re doing is working.”
Czyz said his crew conducts interviews with students, parents, first responders and others.
“Over the past four days, we’ve talked to well over a hundred people and we’ve been up to the hospitals even talking to victims that were shot," Czyz said.
He believes the shooter walked into an unlocked door of the freshman building at Douglas Wednesday.
"The shooter came room to room and was shooting into the classroom through the window," he said. "He shot out the windows and was going back and forth into the classroom trying to reach through to shoot."
He said the classrooms each have windows from the inside hallway, but barricaded classrooms with desks stacked up in front of those windows and doors saved the lives inside.
“At that point the rooms that were barricaded and had desks up in front of the door he moved along from," he said.
Armoured One plans to use this information to improve their active shooter training.
"How can we make training better nationwide? How can we impact the entire United States to save lives so all of this was not for nothing?" Czyz said.
The company also responds simply to help victims work through their feelings during such a difficult time.
“We’re crying together. We’re hugging together," he said.