Just last night a shooting that took place in Appomattox County, Virginia made national news. Eight persons were shot and died at a home on a rural road. The suspect escaped into a wooded area near the house armed with a high powered rifle. He shot at the State Police helicopter hitting it several times puncturing the fuel tank. The area was sealed off for the night, people evacuated, and not much information given to the public.
At daylight the suspect surrendered to police with no further violence. No officers were injured during the incident. At this point very little information has been released to the public since it is still early in the investigation.
Law Enforcement agencies throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia have been training for years to respond to and handle such situations. Park Rangers on the Blue Ridge Parkway were among the first to be trained in and certified to conduct Tactical Tracking in the woodland environment. This training combines the skills of man tracking and proven tactical operations. Along with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the National Park Service was one of the first agencies to recognize the value of having a corps of law enforcement personnel trained to safely and effectively track and apprehend armed suspects in the wild. Prior to this time most tactical training was oriented toward urban SWAT team scenarios. The success of these trained personnel in search and rescue operations and criminal investigations has sold other agencies on the importance of this training.
Sometime back a man just north of Waynesboro, Virginia shot his ex-wife and father-in-law with a high powered rifle. He then fled into the woods. He also shot at the circling State Police helicopter. The incident bordered Shenandoah National Park and the Tactical Tracking Team from the Blue Ridge Parkway was called in to assist. The Team provided protection for the Park to determine if the suspect had entered the area to hide. The suspect was eventually located outside the park and cornered by State Police teams. In that case the suspect committed suicide rather than surrender.
These are just two examples of the importance and value of outdoor/woodland tactical training.