What We Know About Active Shooters

In most murder cases, the victim and shooter know each other - not so in the case of active shooters.


However, quickly inserting oneself into the active shooter situation does not mean running blindly into a gun battle. Rather, it simply means stopping the shooter as fast as possible, either by lethal means or by the mere fact that he knows law enforcement is present. That knowledge alone, that cops are on scene, has ended the carnage in many instances and caused the gunman to commit suicide.

Therefore, the key to reacting to an active shooter situation is rapid response - get on scene and inside as quickly as possible. In all ways, be tactically sound, just as you would in any shooting situation, using proper entry and clearing techniques. Communicate. Be ready as soon as you get out of your vehicle, no time to gear up. You should have already had whatever you need within reach: rifle, lights, ammo. Time is of the essence. Any delay may cost lives. The old practice of waiting for SWAT or assist units is not an option.

What works in most of these incidents is something that’s been practiced by SWAT units since day one: Speed-Surprise-Violence of Action. If you have the luxury of a partner or response team, you’re way ahead of the game. If not, remember that the wolf is already inside the pasture. Your job as the sheepdog is to kill the wolf before he kills the sheep. You took an oath to do just that. Anything less is unacceptable.

One last point - if you’re off-duty and witness one of these events as it unfolds, it is imperative that you take action. Remember, most incidents end when a cop (on or off-duty) or a civilian with a CCW permit confronts the shooter. However, it’s important that you continue to ID yourself even before the uniforms arrive, as there may be other off-duty cops or permit holders in the near vicinity. Once the cavalry is in control, your job is finished. Prepare for the interview.

Stay Safe, Brothers and Sisters!

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