Focusing on lessons learned from Active Shooter Attacks

Week 5 – January 09, 2020

Jason Seaman

On May 25th 2018, during a science class at Noblesville West Middle School a 13-year-old student asked to be excused from a test.  He then reentered the classroom and began shooting with a 22 and 45-caliber handgun. The attacker shot a student and his teacher, Jason Seaman.  The attacker shot Seaman 3 times and another student.  Seaman reacted immediately by throwing a basketball at the shooter to distract him and then proceeded to wrestle the student to the ground after being injured. While taking down the shooter, Seaman yelled for his students to call 911 and evacuate the room. Jason Seaman clearly saved lives and is hailed as a hero but in his mind, he just did what needed to be done.  Jason did participate in Active Shooter training prior to the attack.

Expert Advice of the Week: Lockdown Button

The immediate notification of building occupants, fire, EMS and law enforcement during an active shooter event is a must. Time delays can equate to more innocent lives lost. An integrated lockdown button can not only accomplish the task of immediate notification, but can also serve many other functions to help protect your most valuable assets, the occupants of your building. Upon activation of a lockdown button, the following key functions should occur simultaneously: notification of law enforcement, fire, EMS, automated messaging across the building PA system, activation of blue light notification devices (see the previous Safety debrief), locking access controlled doors, disabling door card access (except for law enforcement, fire and EMS provided card access), displaying lockdown messages on computer screens (and digital signage, IP phones, smart boards, etc.), releasing all magnetically held doors that should be prelocked, and sending email/text/phone alerts to parents/family members to stay away from the school to minimize traffic. With a touch of a button, you can create barriers for the attacker, give your building occupants more time to react and respond, and get law enforcement to the scene faster.  You don’t have time for a checklist during an active shooter because every second counts. Leverage this technology by working closely with your security vendor/integrator and your local law enforcement agency.

Unknown Shooting of the Week

Lesson Learned from the Jonesboro Tragedy:

One year before the 1999 Columbine shooting, a 13 and 11-year-old shot and killed five people at Westside Middle School near Jonesboro Arkansas on March 24th, 1998. Multiple shooters acting out a school shooting is a rarity (less than 2% chance at a school shooting) and the way they perpetrated the attack was unique as well. The attackers initially split up and one pulled the fire alarm.   The other ran the guns back into the woods. After the alarm was pulled they met back up in the woods and as the students and teachers evacuated the school they began shooting at them. Four female students and one teacher were killed. Police were able to apprehend the shooters within ten minutes of the attack. It was learned after the attack that students and staff continued to exit the building even after hearing the gunshot.  Experts say that the students and staff continued to exit the building because of the habits formed from fire drills.  During a fire alarm or drill it is recommended that staff lead the way out of the building and stop to look and listen at each hallway intersection before exiting the building.   

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