Police officer stresses survival mindset in active shooter situations

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Crime prevention Officer Christopher Fairbank describes how the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting was carried out Oct. 2 during a “Hot Potato” lecture at the Methodist Student Center. If there is an active shooter situation on campus, Fairbank told the audience to call this college’s police department at 210-485-0911 when it is safe to do so. Austin P. Taylor

Mass shootings are defined as a killing with more than three deaths.

By Mardio Lattimore


The United States has had 263 mass shootings in 2018 with 43 of those being school shootings, an officer with campus police said Oct. 3 at the Hot Potato lecture and lunch in the Methodist Student Center.

The United Methodist Campus Ministry that operates the center now is known as the Wesley Foundation of San Antonio.

Crime prevention Officer Christopher Fairbank, said the definition of a mass shooting is a killing with at least three deaths, excluding the perpetrator.

According to the data from the Gun Violence Archive, 273 mass shootings incidents have occurred in the U.S. during that time period, with 65 school shootings. Four school shootings were in Texas in 2018, according to that source.

Fairbank said that nearly all active shooters have been abused mentally, verbally or sexually.

In response to a question about whether potential mass shooters exhibit signs of abuse that have been ignored, he gave the example of a shooting at Virginia Polytechnic Institute April 16, 2007.

Seung-Hui, an undergraduate student, shot 49 students on campus, killing 32 and wounding 17.

He also gave an example of heroism surrounding the death of 16-year-old student, Emily Keyes, at Canyon Platte High School in Bailey, Colo., in 2006.

She saved five other girls who also were held hostage by 53-year-old Duane Roger Morrison. The shooter shot her in the head before killing himself.

The news focuses so much on the shooter when there is a mass shooting, but the media do not bring enough attention to the people who lost their lives in shootings, Fairbank said.

He cautioned everyone in the audience to keep a survival mindset during an active shooting.

In such a situation, people should run, hide, then fight if they have been discovered by the active shooter.

He told the audience to weaponize the closest objects, including car keys to defend oneself.

Fairbank advised the audience not to help people who have succumbed to their wounds when fleeing the onslaught of an active shooter unless they are physically disabled.

People fleeing a shooter have a responsibility to help people with disabilities escape danger, he said.

He also said people fleeing a mass shooter should not to go to their cars for escape because traffic can slow down the departure.

The 12 students in the audience were served baked potatoes and lemonade.

For more information, call the campus police at 210-485-0099 and the center at 210-733-1414


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