8 Students, 2 Teachers Killed at Texas High School
On 5/18/2018, another horrific shooting occurred at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. At approximately 7:45 a.m., the shooter entered the art complex of the high school, which was a separate building consisting of four adjoining classrooms. Armed with a pump-action shotgun and a .38 caliber pistol, the shooter began firing on students in an art classroom. According to preliminary victim statements, the majority of the students in this classroom attempted to ESCAPE through a door at the back of the classroom. Tragically, this door was locked, and the suspect was able to kill and injure many of the students as they tried to take cover behind desks and other items. Trapped in the room with nowhere to go, eight of these students sought shelter in a closet. The suspect whispered, “Surprise (expletive)” to these victims through the door, then began shooting through the door into the closet. Two of the eight students in the closet were killed.
A school resource officer, John Barnes, responded to the art complex and immediately entered in an attempt to stop the shooter. Sadly, the shooter ambushed Officer Barnes as he entered the building, shooting him in the shoulder. Officer Barnes’s heart stopped several times on the way to the hospital, but fortunately he survived his injuries and is currently recovering in the ICU.
More police personnel responded to the art complex, containing the shooter to a single classroom. Approximately 30 minutes later, the shooter surrendered by exiting the classroom and throwing himself on the ground. In total, 8 students and 2 teachers were killed, and 13 students and adults were injured. In the aftermath of the shooting, authorities discovered multiple explosive devices on the school grounds and in the shooter’s vehicle and residence.
Key Learning Points
- The shooter was a 17-year-old student at Santa Fe High School. He exhibited several behavioral cues of school shooters, including the following:
- Expression of suicidal ideations in personal writings
- Obsession with militaria
- Emulation of Columbine shooters by wearing a black duster (trench coat) and a “BORN TO KILL” t-shirt
- An unhealthy fixation on violent video games and movies
- Be aware of the behavioral cues exhibited by every active shooter/mass killer before a shooting occurs. These behavioral cues can be learned in behavioral threat assessment courses or programs like H.E.R.O.®
- Make sure your students have practiced ESCAPE in their classrooms and identify primary and secondary emergency exits. Ensure your school is in compliance with emergency exit regulations to provide students with unimpeded egress in the event of a critical incident.
- The swift, appropriate response of an armed school resource officer contained the suspect and mitigated further casualties.
- The suspect prepared explosive devices. Be aware of suspicious devices on your campus during fire drills and other events where the student body is congregated.
- This shooting occurred at 7:45 a.m., prior to the beginning of first period. The majority of school shootings occur at this time, so be especially vigilant at the beginning of the school day.
HERO Middle School Teacher Overcomes Active Shooter
On 5/25/2018, 7th-grade-teacher Jason Seaborn embodied what it means to be a hero and what it means to OVERCOME. At approximately 9:06 a.m., a male student asked to be excused from Mr. Seaborn’s science class. The student retrieved two handguns from his locker and returned to the classroom. The shooter entered Mr. Seaborn’s classroom and opened fire on a female student with both pistols. Seaborn, who was holding a basketball at the time, threw the basketball at the shooter and ran toward the shooter to tackle him. In the process, Mr. Seaborn was shot three times but managed to physically OVERCOME the shooter and disarm him.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Mr. Seaborn underwent surgery for gunshot wounds to his stomach, hip, and forearm. He has since been released from the hospital. The second victim, a female 7th grader, remains in critical condition. The shooter remains unidentified and the motive of this shooting has yet to be determined.
Key Learning Points
- Seaborn took immediate action to OVERCOME and disarm the shooter, saving many lives.
- Even though he was shot, Mr. Seaborn continued to aggressively OVERCOME the shooter. It’s important to remember you can continue to OVERCOME, even if you’ve been injured! Maintaining a victorious mindset while overcoming is absolutely critical.
- The shooter stored two guns in his locker. Make sure you have an appropriate policy in place to deal with reports of weapons on campus. Remember, never call a suspected armed student to the office – always report the situation to police immediately and let them approach the armed student/individual.
Authorities Release Parkland Shooter’s Cellphone Video
At Safe Kids Inc., we do not name any shooter in any of our publications. We believe the media-generated notoriety of active shooters is part of the momentum behind the phenomenon, and we refuse to participate in any aggrandizement of mass murderers. That being said, it is critically important to identify the behavior of every shooter in an attempt to establish patterns, understand and recognize behaviors, and prevent future incidents. The following report provides insight into the mind of an active shooter – insight that can help prevent similar incidents in the future.
On May 30th, authorities released a series of three cellphone videos recorded by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter. In these videos, the shooter exhibits typical behavioral cues associated with previous active shooters/mass killers. The shooter made these videos prior to the shooting, including one video he recorded the morning of the shooting.
Key Learning Points
- The shooter expresses a desire to be “known”. Shooters often engage in mass murder to gain attention from the media and establish notoriety for themselves or their cause.
- The shooter alludes to being bullied and insulted. This is the shooter’s grievance – every shooter has one. Typically, a shooter will ruminate on their grievance to the point where they talk about nothing else and drive their only friends and family away.
- The shooter alludes to his “isolation”. Isolation is further intensified as the shooter obsesses on his or her grievance and draws closer to the final act of violence.
- The shooter explains his plan – to kill “at least” 20 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with his AR-15 rifle.
- The shooter states his life is “meaningless”. Every active shooter shares this mindset – they know their life will end as soon as they pull the trigger, and they have accepted death, injury, and/or imprisonment as their ultimate end.
- If you see or hear of any student or faculty member exhibiting a combination of the above-mentioned behavioral cues, notify authorities immediately!