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Defending against the active shooter
  • When there is no choice but to fight back, use any items available to improvise a weapon and take advantage of the shooter’s tunnel vision to attack from the side.
  • Fully commit to fighting back and use any means necessary to disable the shooter.
  • Do not fight fair; fight with fury and create chaos.

In some situations, there is no choice but to fight back against an active shooter. If the only option is to self-defense, look around the area for “improvised” weapons. Choose items within reach that can be used to injure or disable the active shooter like a fire extinguisher, shovel, scissors, coffee mug, or even a pot of hot coffee.

Studies show the active shooter will have tunnel vision; the shooter’s focus will be on targets in a direct line of vision, so individuals positioned directly on either side the shooter may be able to avoid notice. Take advantage of being outside the shooter’s “attack tunnel” and strike with full force from the side.

Fighting back

When fighting back, fully commit to the action. Do not fight fair. Fight with fury and create chaos. With fellow coworkers, aggressively attack the shooter; throw items to catch the shooter off guard and strike weak spots like eyes, throat, or groin area. Do anything possible to prevent an ongoing attack or future killings. Attack and keep on attacking until the shooter is stopped. Do not give up until the shooter is disarmed.

If, at any time, the gun is pointed down, hold it there or grab and hold the shooter’s arm down. The leverage this creates makes it difficult for the shooter to raise the gun and continue shooting. If involved in a tug-of-war situation with the gun, push the gun into the shooter and let go. This action may cause the shooter to stumble and could make it easier to get the shooter to the ground.

Think about moves that are against the rules in a wrestling match or a mixed martial arts fight — biting, stomping on feet, hitting below the belt — they’re against the rules because they are effective. Go ahead and fight dirty. Then, work together with coworkers to restrain the shooter until police arrive. Only those familiar with firearm safety should handle the gun. Do not inadvertently fire the weapon and hurt others trying to attack or restrain the shooter. No one should be handling the gun when law enforcement arrives.