5 Key Findings Regarding Active Shooter Events

At approximately 9:50 a.m. last Thursday, a recently demoted employee at ArrowStream entered the office with a concealed gun. News reports stated that after demanding a meeting with his boss, the disgruntled employee identified as Tony DeFrances, drew his gun and critically shot CEO Steven LaVoie. After he fired two shots at his long-time boss, Defrances then turned the gun on himself.

In our Tuesday Tips and Tricks article two weeks ago, we talked about situations regarding active shooters. As stated in the previous article, active shooter events can happen anywhere at any time, in both rural and metropolitan areas. From a study released by the FBI on Active Shooters, 40% of shooting sites were areas of business, while 29% were located at schools.

94% of the shooters were male, while a small percentage were females. The data also showed that many came from different racial and ethnic categories. Because of these facts, active shooters do not fit a specific profile. Which can make things even more difficult for those trying to identify the situation in order to infiltrate a tactical response team.

5 key findings regarding active shooter events you may not already be aware of

  1. An active shooter situation is rarely, if ever, an impulsive crime.

    The suspect didn’t conjure a weapon randomly at that point in time and automatically know how to use it. The active shooter consciously chose the date of the planned attack, they orchestrated how to obtain and use their weapons, they selected their victims: either randomly or specifically.

    The victims of school targeted violence have been both targets of choice and targets of opportunity.

  2. Most attackers have experienced some type of episode of rejection with which they cannot cope.

    This includes significant losses or personal failures. Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted or were injured by others prior to the attack. More often than not, this emotional turmoil becomes the shooters motivation or reasoning.

  3. Most active shooters train with their firearms.

    Most police department officers train with their firearms only twice a year on average.

  4. Most attackers gather equipment and may stockpile ammo.

    In about 60% of the attacks the most powerful weapon used was a pistol. However, in one-third of the attacks the shooters brought multiple weapons. In 3% of the cases, the perpetrators brought improvised explosive devices to the attack site and 5% wore body armor.

  5. Most active shooters don’t plan on making it out alive.

    Statistics from the FBI Active Shooter study reported 49% of the time the attacks ended before police arrived. Of those cases, 67% ended with the attackers committing suicide.

Today’s Tips & Tricks:

While some active shooter events are similar, they are not exactly alike. In the event of an active shooter, the call taker’s role is to get the most detailed information as soon as possible. It’s important to distinguish between shots fired and an active shooter. Rephrase “suspect” as “person who is shooting.”

Once you have determined that you have an active shooter, you need to quickly assess each call and determine the appropriate level of questioning. Remember time is sensitive: statistically, someone is shot every 15 seconds in an active shooter event. Determine how much time to spend on each call.

To learn more about our Equature Learning on Demand dispatcher training program please go to www.equature.com/LOD/

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Ram Natraj
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