Active shooter expert: When you can’t fight or hide, run

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – Retired Middletown Police Sergeant and active shooter expert Allan Garcia says Sunday’s attack on Las Vegas was one like we haven’t seen in a half-century.

“Once this guy started his rampage it was just awful,” he said.

The founder of School Violence Solutions, an organization that teaches active shooter and school shooter response tactics, Garcia said the U.S. hasn’t seen a sniper-style attack since the University of Texas tower shooting of 1966.

Normally, Garcia teaches the slogan, “Lock out, clock out, take out.” He said people in active shooter situations should attempt to lock the shooter out of the room, “clock out” and leave the area, or if there’s no other option available, fight the shooter.

“As human beings, we don’t rise to the occasion in situations like this,” he said. “Our reactions to fear are fight, flight, freeze, and you see in a lot of these situations, flight might be OK. As a last ditch effort, fight might be OK. But freeze? No good. That’s never good.”

Garcia said with a gunman firing from above, it’s best to run and seek cover.

“If somebody says to get down and hey, you know that may not be the best thing to do, don’t do that,” he said.

He also suggests knowing how to be your own first-responder.

“Do you know anything about treating gunshot wounds to yourself or someone else? Do you know anything about affixing tourniquet or hemostatic agents?” Garcia asked. “These things now are sold in department stores and sporting good stores.”

He believes that knowing these response methods could be the new normal for people who want to protect themselves and their families. But Garcia said if people arm themselves with one tool, it should be situational awareness.

“Know what’s going on around you,” he said. “Know where those places of refuge are. Know where the nearest exit is.”