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ACTIVE SHOOTER. Active Shooter Defined. An active shooter incident is when one or more subjects participate in a shooting spree, random or systematic with intent to continuously harm others (U.S. Army M.P. School)

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Active Shooter Defined

An active shooter incident is when one or more subjects participate in a shooting spree, random or systematic with intent to continuously harm others (U.S. Army M.P. School)

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area (FBI).


Profile of an Active Shooter

May be a current or former employee associated with the government, i.e. active duty military, government contractor or one of their family members.

An Active shooter can also be an individual not directly associated with the organization, but gains access to the installation, stand alone facility or unit.

Washington Navy Yard

Tucson Political Rally

Colorado Movie Theater


Characteristics of an Active Shooter Incident

The event is unpredictable and evolves rapidly

Victims are generally targets of opportunity

Military Police or Civil/Federal Law enforcement, in some capacity, is typically required to end an Active Shooter incident (Apprehension, Armed Confrontation, “Suicide by Cop”..etc)


Recognizing Signs of High-Risk Behavior

Indicators of potential violent behavior may include one or more of the following (Not all inclusive)

Increased use of drugs/alcohol

Unexplained increase in absenteeism or vague physical complaints

Depression or withdrawal

Increased severe mood swings and noticeably unstable or emotional responses

Increasingly talks about personal problems or problems at home

Increase in unsolicited comments about violence, firearms, and other dangerous weapons or violent crimes

Do these look familiar?



Incidents Specific to Virginia

January 16, 2002: Peter Odighizuwa opened fire on the campus of the Appalachian School of law, killing the dean, a student and a professor, and wounding three other people. Reports state that Odighizuwa, a graduate student, was angry over recently being dismissed from the school (3 dead; 3 wounded).

October 2 2002: John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo opened fire on random targets during a three-week sniper rampage along Interstate 95 around the Virginia and Washington, D.C. Metro area (10 dead; 3 wounded).

April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, a Virginia Polytechnic Institute student, opened fire inside a university dormitory and in several classrooms, killing 32 people and wounding 20 others. He committed suicide after the attack. Reports state that Cho had a history of mental and behavioral problems (32 dead; 20 wounded).

April 26, 2009: Odane Greg Maye opened fire at a Hampton University dormitory, wounding a pizza delivery man and the dormitory manager. Before the shooting began, Maye, a former student at Hampton University, parked his car off campus to avoid a vehicle checkpoint. He then attempted to commit suicide (0 dead; 2 wounded).

March 4, 2010: John Bedell opened fire on Pentagon police officers after an officer asked him for his credentials at the security checkpoint of the Pentagon’s main entrance. Three guards returned fire and fatally wounded the gunman (0 dead; 2 wounded).


How to Respond When Shooting Begins

  • Evacuate

    • Have an exit route and plan in mind

    • Leave your belongings behind

    • Keep your hands visible at ALL times!!

    • Hide

      • Hide in an area out of the Active Shooter’s view

      • Lock doors and block entry to your hiding place with anything

      • available


How to Respond When Shooting Begins

  • Take Action

  • As a last resort

  • Only when your life is in immanent danger

  • Attempt to incapacitate the Active Shooter


If You Are Able…

  • Call 911 or other local emergency number when it is safe to do so

  • You should provide the following information to the Police to the 911

  • operator:

    • Current/Last know location of the shooter/s

    • Number of shooters

    • Physical description of shooter/s

    • Number and types of weapons the shooter/s have

    • Number of possible victims

    • ** NOTE ** When calling 911 you don’t have to speak to the operator if speaking will compromise your position. Leaving an “open” line is just as useful as it not only gives your address, it also allows 911 dispatchers to listen and relay situation-critical information to responding forces.


How to Respond When Police Arrive

  • Try to remain calm

  • Obey ALL police instructions

  • Put down any/all items in your hands such as cell backpacks, cell

  • phones, jackets…etc

  • Raise your hands, spread your fingers, and keep your hands visible

  • to Police at all times

  • Avoid sudden or aggressive movements

  • Avoid pointing, screaming or yelling

  • Do notstop to ask officers for help or directions while evacuating

  • The first officers to arrive to the scene will not stop to help injured persons. Expect rescue teams comprised of additional officers and emergency medical personnel to follow the initial officers. These rescue teams will treat and remove any injured persons. They may also call upon able-bodied individuals to assist in removing the wounded from the premises.


Coping with an Active Shooter

  • Be aware of your surroundings and possible dangers

  • Take note of the nearest exits in the facility

  • If you are in an office at the time of an attack, stay there and secure

  • the door



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