Four Victims Shot in South Carolina Rampage
A 25-year-old male went on a shooting spree in Sumter, South Carolina on October 21st. The shooter fired a .22 caliber rifle at several random victims in an apartment complex, striking a woman. He then drove to a local tire shop and shot three victims inside. The suspect drove away from the tire shop and was later tracked down by local law enforcement and arrested without incident. The suspect was charged with 9 counts of attempted murder and his motive was described by the Sumter Police Department as intended to cause “chaos and harm to the community.”
Key Learning Points
- By definition, active shooters target victims “in a confined and populated area”, and often, their victims are completely random. In this case, the suspect targeted random victims at an apartment complex and a tire shop with no clear motive. It’s important to remember that active shooter incidents don’t always occur in schools, malls, or other densely-populated areas.
- It’s important to prepare a family safety plan prior to an emergency. When considering your own family safety plan, discuss how family members should react, identify different ways to communicate with each other, and select a location/s to meet if you become separated.
- If possible, identify building exits and potential places to hide inside. Be aware of open doors to offices, bathrooms, or areas that could offer protection.
City Pays Out $100,000 to Teacher Injured During Active Shooter Training
A police department in Montana paid a $100,000 settlement to a teacher who was injured during an active shooter training session hosted by her school. Local law enforcement participated in the training session and used airsoft guns and “blanks” to simulate gunfire. Several of these rounds were fired indoors, damaging the hearing of one of the teachers participating in the training session.
Key Learning Points
- Law enforcement officers are accustomed to training via high-stress methods and potentially trauma-inducing stimuli. Educators are not accustomed to these types of training modalities and there is a high likelihood that injuries (both physical and psychological) may result when teachers are subjected to them.
- Active shooter survivability strategies can be taught to educators and students without the use of simulated ammunition and high-stress training methods.
- If you intend to include law enforcement in your active shooter training sessions, make sure you express the needs of your staff and act as an advocate for their well-being. If you don’t feel comfortable with a training modality suggested by law enforcement, don’t be afraid to say “No”.
New Jersey Parents Outraged by Unannounced Active Shooter Drills
Parents in a New Jersey community recently expressed their opposition to a series of active shooter drills occurring without prior notice at local schools. New Jersey law requires schools to perform different emergency drills every month and allows each school and district to decide whether or not they will provide advance notice of the drills to parents and students.
According to several students involved in these drills, they felt “traumatized”, and did not know whether or not the drills were actual incidents or simulations. One student was quoted saying, “We’ve done so many drills that it feels like every one is just a drill”.
Key Learning Points
- Active shooter/violent intruder drills should be conducted twice yearly.
- Parents, students, and educators should ALWAYS be notified when an active shooter/violent intruder drill will occur.
- When students are provided with age-appropriate strategies other than hiding in their classroom, they feel empowered and better understand why occasional drills are important.
- Students should be told that active shooter incidents are exceedingly rare, but they can happen (just like a fire and other emergencies). When violent incidents are put in perspective and empowering safety strategies are provided to students, anxiety is dispelled throughout the entire school community.