If You Can Take Active Shooter Out, Do It, Says D.C. Chief Lanier


Washington, D.C., Police Chief Cathy Lanier is urging that civilians confronted by an active shooter in some cases try to stop the gunman before law enforcement authorities arrive, saying quick action could save lives, reports the Washington Post. Appearing on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Lanier noted that in many multiple shootings, most victims are killed within the first 10 minutes. At Washington’s Navy Yard shootings in 2013, 10 of the 12 victims were dead in fewer than six minutes. Lanier said police simply can't get to the scene in time to stop the initial and deadliest onslaught. “Your options are run, hide or fight,” she said. “I always say if you can get out, getting out's your first option, your best option. If you're in a position to try and take the gunman down, to take the gunman out, it's the best option for saving lives before police can get there.”

Similar advice was offered in 2013 in a video titled “Run, Hide, Fight,” from the Houston mayor's Office of Public Safety and funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is posted on the FBI's Internet site that also contains a detailed analysis of active shootings and how police confronted the gunmen. Coming from the police chief of the nation's capital on national television, the words have gained a wider audience. “For a major city police chief to say that is breaking new ground,” said Chuck Wexler of the Police Executive Research Forum. Wexler said that historically, police have urged citizens not to get involved, but instead to call 911 and wait for officers to respond. That remains true in most crimes, he said. “But if you're dealing with suicide bombers or terrorists, it's a completely different dynamic,” Wexler said. “I think that because so much can happen in so few seconds, intervention by citizens can make a big difference.”

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