Focusing on lessons learned from Active Shooter Attacks

Week 10 – February 13, 2020

Chris Mintz

On October 1st, 2015 a gunman fatally shot nine innocent people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The death toll would’ve been much higher if it hadn’t been the heroic actions of U.S. Army Veteran Chris Mintz. After hearing screams from the connected classroom, he immediately jumped up and used his body as a barricade, blocking the door to allow fellow students time to escape. Mintz then ran to the library to evacuate students who didn’t know what was happening. Chris decided to go back to where the shooting was taking place to assist the injured, but he was spotted by the shooter who shot him five times. After falling to the floor Mintz pleaded for his life proclaiming it was his son’s birthday. The shooter did not fire anymore rounds and instead, retreated back into the classroom. Chris Mintz survived his injuries and because of his selfless actions, saved the lives of many others.

Expert Advice of the Week: Classroom Locks

What the Experts Say:
*Safety Debrief Minute utilizes industry subject matter experts

Classroom Locks

The ability to quickly and easily lock a classroom door during a lockdown or active shooter situation in your facility is a crucial component for school security. We must learn from past active shooter incidents and schools and provide realistic solutions to keep our students safe while they are in class. History has shown that teachers or staff members have been unable to use their key in their classroom doors due to the limited fine motor skills that exist during a high stress situation.  The easier it is to lock the door from the inside, the more lives will be saved as staff can now focus on controlling their students, moving them to a safe area, and barricading the door if possible. The following are some classroom lock functions that are typically found in schools:

An Office Function Lock can be controlled by a key in the outside cylinder or by a thumb turn/push button on the inside.  A Classroom Function Lock is controlled by a key in the outside cylinder, which locks or unlocks the outside lever. A Classroom Security Function Lock is similar to the Office Function Lock but also uses a key to lock the classroom door from the inside. A Classroom Security Intruder Function operates like the Classroom Security Function but has the added strength of a deadbolt. Some manufacturers also offer a visual confirmation that the door is secure.  A Networked Wireless Lock can be locked or unlocked by a command from the electronic access control system and interconnected with your lockdown button. Each school should understand the benefits and challenges associated with each locking solution. Time is of the essence. Schools should always keep in mind that locking your door, without the use of a key, is paramount.

Lesson Learned from the Umpqua Community College Tragedy

Unknown Shooting of the Week and Lessons Learned
Umpqua Community College

The Umpqua Community College shooting lessons are twofold. First, it’s important for schools to consider the safety of their campuses. Having functioning locks on their doors can help to slow down active shooters and potentially save lives. Additionally, investing in services like active shooter security assessments and active shooter training programs can help identify security weaknesses and help train faculty and staff to respond appropriately if there’s ever an active shooter situation.

Second, this is a perfect example of a mental illness going unchecked. The shooter showed signs of mental illness for years, his mother claiming that he was born angry. On the day of the attack, he gave a classmate a collection of several mass killings he had studied and expressed his frustrations with sexuality and his life of isolation. He admired the WDBJ TV anchor killer and longed to be known by everyone for his murderous actions. He was never committed to a facility and medication didn’t seem to help him. Mental illness should always be taken seriously, especially when there are clear signs of an interest in hurting others.

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