On April 20th, 1999, two teens Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 people and wounding more than 20 others before turning their guns on themselves and committing suicide.
In April of 2007, twenty-three year old Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, before taking his own life. Both of these tragic events are known as “active shooter”. An active shooter is an individual(s) actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area for whatever reason they believe in. The FBI identified 1600 active shooter incidents between 2000 and 2013. An active shooter incident can take place at anytime, anywhere and is on the rise.
After the Columbine incident, I was honored to sit on a board of fellow SWAT Team members and Police Instructors in Palm Beach County to formulate a plan for law enforcement in Palm Beach County along with the Palm Beach County School Board Police to stop such an incident if it ever occurred in our area. A plan was developed and put into place.
Understand that prior to the Columbine School shooting it was standard operating procedure in some police agencies to surround the building, wait and gather as much information as possible and call for SWAT. During this time, the clock was ticking and bad things could be happening to good people inside that building.
Today, the standard operating procedure around the country for law enforcement is to take action immediately. Upon arrival to the scene they are to enter the building immediately and eliminate the threat. There is a little more to this procedure that I won’t get into in this blog.
Fast forward to today there have been many other “Active Shooter” incidents around the country and around the world for that matter!
Virginia Tech – April 16, 2007- 32 Killed /20 Wounded
Sandy Hook Elementary- December 14, 2012- 28 Killed/2 Injured
Stoneman-Douglas – February 14, 2018- 17 Killed/ 17 Injured
Chabad of Poway Synagogue-San Diego,Calif – April 27, 2019 1 Killed / 2 Injured
UNC Charlotte- April 30, 2019- 2 killed / 4 Injured
Even though Active Shooter incidences are known for taking place in schools and places of worship they can also take place at your place of employment, restaurants, movie theaters and other places where we go to gather for work or fun with the family and friends.
Do you know what to do if you find yourself in such an incident?
In next week’s Blog I will cover- Active Shooter/Workplace Violence [Part 2] “How to prepare both mentally and physically for an Active Shooter/Workplace Violence incident “so you can protect yourself and your loved ones.