'It was frightening': Active shooter drill held at Mount Vernon City Hall

MOUNT VERNON, Westchester County (WABC) -- It was only a drill, but the scenario was all too familiar: a lone gunman shooting four people before taking his own life.

The scene played out Thursday at Mount Vernon City Hall as a way to prepare first responders and city workers in the event of an actual mass shooting.

"If we stay ready, we don't have to get ready," said Mount Vernon Mayor Andre Wallace. "We want to make sure our school, our City Hall, our libraries, everything is secured."

Planning for the drill took two months and involved not only the police department, but also the fire department and EMS.

Employees had been trained how to lock doors and move to safety.

The drill was so realistic Vanessa Perez, who works in the City Clerk's office, ripped her pants during her escape.

"It was frightening," said Perez. "We knew about this today, and it was still frightening."

The drill is over, but the discussion is not. A debrief among officials is planned to discuss how things could be done better in the future.

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