PORTLAND (AP) – A group of Portland city officials got a look Wednesday at New York City’s emergency response plan. The officials were there to study how the city responds to major emergencies when a man opened fire inside city hall.

A city councilman known as a crusader against urban violence was shot to death inside City Hall by a political rival who bypassed security by walking into the building along with his victim.

A plainclothes police officer shot and killed the assailant, who was a political opponent of the councilman and had accompanied him into the building.

The Portland officials were in a briefing room at the Office of Emergency Management, which assesses implications of emergency events for the city and region and coordinates much of the response, when the shooting occurred.

The Portland contingent was scurried to a safe area, Portland Fire Chief Fred Lamontagne said.

“We were in a briefing room and we were learning about some of the different lessons they learned since Sept. 11, the different technologies they’re using and how they keep a watch status over the city of New York, a city of eight million people,” he said.

When the shooting occurred, “there was an immediate activation of everyone inside their Office of Emergency Management. We were assigned to a staffer to escort us to a safe area, where we wouldn’t hear something we are not cleared to hear,” he said.

Portland officials representing emergency services, public works, parks and recreation and other departments, were visiting the city to learn how the city plans for and responds to emergencies, lessons that can be transferred to Portland, Lamontagne said.

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, New York City has developed one of the most sophisticated emergency response capabilities in the world, monitoring not just local events but incidents throughout the country.

AP-ES-07-24-03 0228EDT

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