Run, hide, fight: Local security experts urging public to take active shooter training seriously

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Authorities confer at the scene where multiple people were shot at the FedEx Ground facility early Friday morning, April 16, 2021, in Indianapolis. A gunman killed eight people and wounded several others before apparently taking his own life in a late-night attack at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport, police said, in the latest in a spate of mass shootings in the United States after a relative lull during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD confirms the suspect of Thursday night’s mass shooting is 19 year-old Brandon Hole, a former FedEx employee who was last employed at the facility back in 2020.

“We now are part of that nationwide list of mass shootings,” said Indiana University’s Chief of Police, Jill Lees. “We always say it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but ‘when’ and as the Chief of Police for a BIG10 university, there’s a lot of pressure to constantly message safety tips.”

Lees said her department trains for these types of situations with large-scale active shooter drills. She said the public has three best options for how to survive active shooter situations: run, hide, fight.

“I think the most important thing that people can do on a daily basis is be alert,” said Lees. “Play what I always call ‘the what-if game’. You go to work, or you go to the grocery store, you go to the bank and you ask in your mind, ‘What could happen if someone tried to rob this bank right now? What would happen if an active shooter came in? Where would I go?’.”

Lees recommends evacuating if possible, but admits often times the shooter begins shooting outside the business. In this case, she said it is best to hide, lock the doors, dim the lights, and be prepared to fight if necessary.

Jay Dotson, owner of Fortress Preparedness Services, said the three-step process should be practiced regularly.

“When we’re so stressed out, possibly so stressed out we don’t remember certain things — if we’ve done it repeatedly then we’ve created that muscle memory, if you will, then we’re more likely to follow those instructions,” said Dotson.

Dotson recently retired from the Muncie Police Department after three decades of service. Now, he helps train employees and employers on how to prepare for active shooters. Dotson recommends employers have a written plan, do annual drills, and ensure entrances are secure.

“You may not be able to stop this person from doing this, but you may be able to stop them from doing it at your business,” said Dotson.

Both experts said Hoosiers should not view these reminders and plans as a method to instill fear. Instead, experts said the public should have the satisfaction of being prepared.

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