I WAS SHOCKED AND DISMAYED AS I WATCHED THE BREAKING NEWS: ACTIVE SHOOTER IN ANNAPOLIS, MD YESTERDAY. I teach Active Shooter Training, perform Active Shooter Drills and do Active Shooter Risk Assessments every week, but this one was different because I used to have an office right next to the Capital Gazette on Bestgate Road.
This horrific shooting had all the hallmarks of the other Active Shooters we have seen. The shooter was mad over something that had been written about him 7 years ago, so he thought about it every day, and fantasized about getting even, and then one day, he picked up his gun and headed to the Capital Gazette newspaper office.
He used his shotgun to shoot out the front glass doors, walked inside and started shooting. The extent of the carnage was kept out of the news for several hours, but then the Governor announced that five staffers had been killed and 3 other injured.
AGAIN, THE SHOOTING WAS OVER BEFORE THE POLICE ARRIVED. They eventually had 105 law enforcement officers on the scene within two minutes, but it was too late to save anyone.
Because Annapolis is the capital of Maryland, and a relatively small town, this was another case of IT CAN’T HAPPEN HERE! The newspaper office had no security in place.
Even though the shooter (who’s name I won’t use) had made many threats to the newspaper and its staff, the threats were not taken seriously, and there was minimal, if any, security at the Capital Gazette Office. There was no security presence in the office, or the building, no panic alarm, and no case management program had been set up to track and attempt to manage the shooter’s threats.
LESSONS LEARNED: Effective Security is the only thing standing between YOUR STAFF and an Active Shooter.
1. Effective Security is the only thing standing between YOUR STAFF and an Active Shooter.
2. Even the most basic security threats, such as having a solid, bullet-proof door (not glass),
having a safe room for staff, can make the difference in saving a life.
3. The newspaper had decided NOT to get a restraining order against him, thinking it would
make things worse, but instead, ignoring the threats is what inflamed the shooter.
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