State and local agencies conducted an exercise simulating multiple shooters on a college campus.
The drill has been in the works for over a year and was paid for in part by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
More than 500 people took part in Thursday's drill: 350 first responders, 150 volunteer victims and multiple other observers from across the state.
In the scenario, there were five gunmen on the Virginia Western Community College campus. Police had to find the shooters in the midst of dozens of people who were injured.
When the drill started, sirens sounded across the campus and all campus phones activated with a speaker phone message just like it's supposed to do in a real life event.
"I think it's a very realistic scenario so far" says Bob Spieldenner from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.
"Today was surreal. I was out in front of building when it all started and was shot in the very beginning and laid there for about 45 minutes" said Erik Williams, who works at VWCC and played one of the victims. "It was pretty intense."
Meanwhile, Oscar Duenas spoke to the first police officers on the scene in Spanish.
"I was just reporting dead people and injured people and since they didn't know what I was saying exactly, they just handcuffed me and put me aside" said Duenas.
It was just one of the many surprises planned for police arriving on scene.
"We know the reality of that scenario playing out here. We know the reality of the reality of it playing out anywhere and history shows we can go from Columbine to Jonesboro to northern Illinois to Virginia Tech - there are dozens and dozens of school shooting that happen," said Craig Harris, the VWCC Police Chief.
Harris says although they train for situations like these, it's crucial to also train with other agencies and police officers and also test if hospitals are ready.
"Most of the Roanoke City officers here, I know them because we work together all the time," Harris said. "When you bring those outside agencies in to join us, that's where that relationship building starts and makes us better for the next incident that takes place."
"I think it's necessary and we're never prepared enough for a situation like this one, but it does give you an idea of what it would be like" Duenas said.
If this was an actual event, we're told you can log onto www.roanokealert.com to get updates. Virginia Western Community College also has text message and email alerts anyone can sign up for.
Similar drills take place across the state.