Echoes of gunshots from El Paso, Dayton reach Surprise

A Walmart Neighborhood Market, like one in Springfield, Missouri, where a man entered with assault rifles and armored gear. [Jason Stone/Independent Newsmedia]

By Jason Stone and Philip Haldiman, INDEPENDENT NEWSMEDIA

Her children.

That’s where she went immediately.

They were the first to hit Kelly Carbello’s mind after shots were reported in the nation’s latest two mass shootings.

Then, as more news rolled in, her heart started to break.

The shootings, of course, did not happen on school campuses, but visions of playgrounds and classrooms pour over her whenever mass shootings occur.

She said parents can’t help but think about it.

The chances of a school shooting are 1 in 6.4 million and there is no need to be alarmed, she said, but emotionally, the statistics mean nothing.

There are days Ms. Carbello is terrified to send her kids to school in the Peoria Unified School District.

Surprise’s Canyon Ridge West and apartments east of 115th Avenue are in the PUSD boundaries, attending Parkridge Elementary School, 9970 W. Beardsley Road, Peoria.

“I remind myself that my kids are safe and I trust that my school and school district are doing everything they can to make sure my kids are safe,” Ms. Carbello said.

“If I get a call from the school, sometimes I freeze. I have to remind myself to breathe and answer the phone, instead of letting my thoughts run rampant.”

Ms. Carbello is well versed in the nature of a healthy mind. She is a mental and behavioral heath consultant and participated in emergency training with FEMA for the Peoria Unified School District.

But she still struggles with the inability to overcome this American problem.

What to do?

As of press time, at least 31 people were killed in two separate mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over 13 hours on Aug. 3 and 4.

The nation, as it has done too many times before, once again mourns and wonders how to respond to such senseless death and violence.

William Marsh, licensed clinical psychologist and a primary supervisor for Southwest Behavioral Health & Services, said mass shootings are incredibly tragic and weigh heavy on society.

Unfortunately, he said, symptoms of depression and anxiety are common reactions to such tragedies and can be difficult to understand and regulate.

Mr. Marsh said it is important to remain aware of these feelings and manage them through self-care and support. Mourning and fear are part of the human experience and people work through their feelings in various ways.

“People may benefit from spending quality time with loved ones, engaging in physical activity, reading a book you’ve been meaning to read, planting that garden you’ve always wanted, or finding new meaningful activities to fill your life with. Be mindful of what you find meaningful and embrace it,” he said.

El Paso. Dayton. Surprise?

When Davarya Brown stumbled Aug. 2 onto the Fellowship Square Surprise senior living facility, 16477 W. Bell Road, he could have easily added Surprise to the list of cities dealing with mass shooting situations over the last three weeks.

While it appears his intentions weren’t of the mass shooting nature, court documents show Mr. Brown, 24, fired six shots at a maintenance worker from 20 feet away after allegedly jumping into residents’ backyards.

According to court records, Mr. Brown told officers he had “evil thoughts, so he started to shoot and ran away from him.”

Fortunately, all the shots missed, but the worker was injured while falling during the escape from the gunfire. Authorities evacuated the facility to make sure no one else was hurt, and no residents were in the line of fire.

In a statement from Ron Meritt, a spokesman for Fellowship Square, he expressed gratitude that there were no injuries.

“We are very relieved that no harm came to residents or employees, Mr. Meritt stated. “Accessing security within our community and with our resident’s input is something we do ongoing.”

Court documents showed Surprise police found Mr. Brown hiding under a truck at a nearby business.

After a weekend stay in the hospital for an unrelated issue, Mr. Brown was booked on eight counts of trespassing, four counts each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct, and one count each of criminal damage, prohibited possession and probation violation.

The good news is Surprise police didn’t have the incident develop into multiple injuries in a facility where hundreds of residents live.

On Aug. 8, a 20-year-old man in Springfield, Missouri, was charged with a felony for walking through a Walmart Neighborhood Market store with body armor and a loaded rifle. He didn’t fire a gun, but he caused panic among customers.

“We are aware of this,” said Surprise Police spokesman Sgt. Tim Klarkowski. “Whenever there is a high-profile incident across the country, we kind of evaluate our current practices and kind of determine how would this have gone in our circumstance, or is there something we need to improve on with our current thinking?”

Surprise prepares its officers for mass shooting scenarios as a regular part of its training.

“Just earlier this year we did some active shooter training,” Mr. Klarkowski said.

However, what that training consists of isn’t something for public knowledge.

“What we don’t want to do is get into the weeds of what we’re doing to prepare to keep things secure,” Mr. Klarkowski said. “We don’t want [potential shooters] to say, ‘Oh, that’s what they were doing.’ They adapt.”


Unless there are police already at an active shooting scene, most people are on their own for the first few minutes.

“We know that the reality is if there’s going to be a mass shooting our response time is two to three minutes or more,” Mr. Klarkowski said. “We need to do some educating the community for things to do for themselves.”

Mr. Klarkowski said there are some things people can do if they ever find themselves in a mass shooting situation – run, hide or fight.

While the options may seem obvious, sometimes it’s not easy to remember in the adrenaline of the moment.

“The first option would be to run far away,” Mr. Klarkowski said. “If you can’t get away, and you can’t flee, then your option is to find a secure hiding spot and call 9-1-1.

“It’s up to you if you feel you can fight them off.”

Or people can take matters into their own hands with a gun of their own. That’s especially true in Arizona where you don’t even need a permit to conceal one.

Mr. Klarkowski said reporting suspicious behaviors in a place of business should be the responsibility of workers and customers.

“It’s hard to tell when somebody means [a threat], or the heat of the moment,” Mr. Klarkowski said. “So, it’s important report stuff like that.”

Jason Stone can be reached at 623-445-2805, on email at or on Twitter at  @thestonecave. Chris Caraveo contributed to this story.

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