Hypothetical: Active shooter

Hypothetical: Active shooter

This is a discussion on Hypothetical: Active shooter within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Okay, I thought about this today at Barnes and Noble book store... I am in the children's book area all the way at the back ...

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Thread: Hypothetical: Active shooter

  1. #1
    Member Array Sejune's Avatar
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    Hypothetical: Active shooter

    Okay, I thought about this today at Barnes and Noble book store...

    I am in the children's book area all the way at the back of the store, looking at a gun magazine while my daughter plays with the Thomas the Train play area. There is no direct line of view even to the entrance to the children's area entrance. Closest exit is about 25 yards away...and you are not sure if it is even an exit, as it's an employee only area. Other than that, the entrance/exit is at the middle front of the store. My wife is at the Starbucks eatery at the far left front side of the store. Easily seen from the entrance to the store.

    Gunshots ring out. You are carrying your typical EDC. Your wife is sitting with her best friend (both who know you carry), and a complete anti friend of hers (plays into the psychology of your wife's potential actions/reactions, etc., or doesn't matter at all).

    What do you do? You have no idea where the shots came from, no direct clear exit. No idea of your wife's current location. Shots continue as seconds pass by....

    (If there is more info you need, let me know and I'll try to fill in any details required for your response)
    Glock 30 .45
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  2. #2
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    Array RETSUPT99's Avatar
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    I head to the back of the bookstore and peer through the bookshelves to check out potential targets, staying behind coverage (bookshelves would be great), while I dial 911.
    I stay quiet and look for a possible back exit so the alarm sounds, and I'm out of there.
    Proverbs 27:12 says: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

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  3. #3
    Member Array OLYXDGUY's Avatar
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    I have to agree that finding cover and getting an idea if what's going on is the best tactic. Two things your kid is a priority. You can't leave him to go find your wife. I say call 911 try and reach the wife via cell first and see if you can get info. By all means if you see the BG and can take hm out make sure your gun out. We had a guy I. Tacoma Wa who simply showed the perp his gun while yelling stop. He got shot!! I'd be ready to shoot the Moment I hear shots
    ~XD-45 Compact~
    You might be weak but God is Strong!

  4. #4
    Member Array Rivers's Avatar
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    San Diego, CA
    If I understand correctly, you are in the back of the store where you do not have a direct line of sight to the entrance of the area that you left your child to play. That is the first mistake. How many times do we need to see it on the news about a parent who did not maintain the necessary vigilance in public. Take the magazine over to where you can also cover that doorway. That said...

    The first move is to protect your child. Drop the gun magazine and get your backside over to your daughter to keep her safe - assuming she hasn't panicked and run out of the room looking for you. Considering that the cell phones in a mall significantly outnumber people with licensed concealed firearms, providing protection for your child is your first duty. Then, with your child safe, if you feel that 911 lines are not yet flooded, call and report the gunfire.

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    I totally do the same thing only I've got a stack of gun magazines.

    Assuming the layout of your store is similar if not exact same as mine, here is what I'd think to do if time and distance from the BGs allows.

    My first thought and priority is to get my kids out and to safety.
    Sorry mom/wife but they supersede you. A fact of life and generational living.
    My local store has an employee only door in the rear at roughly the center of the back wall. It's the entry to the storage room.
    I enter that room and don't give a care about the sign saying "Employees Only". I lock the door behind me. Yes. I lock it. Any person on my immediate six can come with but that door, it gets locked.

    Once inside I recon for an exit into the mall which is on the backside opposite of the store.
    If no such exit is available then I look for an escape point be it a window or whatever that I can exploit into an exit even if it's just child sized and no good for me.
    If no such opportunity presents itself then I locate a hardened position and if I have to build it out of thick books on the fly then so be it. 4 or 5 feet thick of books as cover and concealment built up or around the kids.
    I instruct them to be quiet. If they cannot do so then I myself tape their mouths. It's a hard world and necessary choices aren't always nice.

    Back to that locked door.
    I first listen...intently. I next crack it open to see if I can get a visual.
    If not then the door goes back to being closed, and locked.
    If so then I'll do what I can for the persons closest to me so as to alert them to quietly enter the room quick and pronto.
    Door gets closed and locked again.

    That is all.

    We wait it out for the cavalry to arrive and I take a cover position to monitor the door.
    No low crawling through aisles to locate the wife. No face grab neck snap action against BGs on the QT. No The Unit style bring the fight to the BGs and save the day action.

    My wife knows I carry. My kids do too. My wife is very much anti.
    She's 38 and a big girl. She has made her own adult choices toward herself and that of our children. She chooses to remain ignorant and not even learn about how a firearm works never mind carry. That is her right as a human being and a US citizen. She also has the right to suffer her choices.
    I have the right to suffer mine. I choose to survive, by any means necessary. For the sake of my kids doing same.

    If mom makes it through then awesome.
    If not then it's a tragedy.
    But dad leaving the kids behind alone so as to get shot or killed trying to save grown person mom makes no logical sense at all never mind we both being killed and leaving our kids as orphans.

    Not gonna happen.

    Unlike in TV shows and movies, the GG doesn't always overcome or survive by the skin of his teeth.
    My skin is thin and it is the only thing protecting my body. a skin and body which my kids enjoy and depend on.
    The choice as to what to do and what not to do would for me be simple and clear even as I do love my wife, as do my children of their mother.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array Pikachu711's Avatar
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    You should head to the back of the store. Once you feel you have decent cover & you can observe the store from your vantage point you should call you wife on her cell phone (if she has one). By this time other mall shoppers have already called 911. Tell her where you are located and have her quickly proceed to your location. Once all your family & friends are with you proceed to a safer location. This might mean the storage room of the book store you are currently visiting.

    If you are still hearing gun shots try and locate an exit from inside the storage room to an exterior door or interior hallway. There is usually some type of interior hallway for employees only. There should be "Emergency Exit" signs indicating a direction of travel.

    You now have the option of sending your family & friends to safety. Or you can stay and be a witness for the local authorities. That call is entirely up to you. I personally would lead the way to get my loved ones out of the mall. The safety of you & your loved ones should be your primary concern.

    The reason I have some degree of background of mall stores comes from working security at one of the larger malls here in Las Vegas.
    "Gun control is being able to hit your target."
    Glock 26

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    In the back of the store with your young'un and wife and friend(s) in the coffee shop when shots are heard inside.

    Tough situation. My first priority is to secure my son (my youngest son is 6 and Thomas the Train is his priority when at B & N as well). I don't know if the rear exit of the bathrooms would be closest but I'd have to toss him somewhere and either stay with him or leave him where I can (maybe). My wife would have sense enough to get down but with her child back with me she'd might try to get to him (us). This may sound cold but she'd be on her own for a few seconds or more.

    IF (and I mean IF) I'm confident about my kids hideing spot I'll reenter the kill zone to secure my wife and maybe engage the shooter. Here's where it get's tricky for me. Looking for my wife in an active shooter situation is suicide. I've become a target.

    Action must be swift, disciplined, and motivated. I would do nobody any good getting shot but immediate engagement of the threat would work in my favor. IF I can ID the shooter QUICKLY then I'll engage, that smiple. If his attention is focused on me then that alone would save lives (read my wife and child). I would abandon all other thoughts and stopping the shooter would be priority one. I've had some training in this area (DoD, not law enforcement) and I'm confident in my abilities. If I cannot ID the shooter, then I may or may not go looking for my wife, falling back to my son would be first priority then.

    Very tricky, fluid situation.
    "Just getting a concealed carry permit means you haven't commited a crime yet. CCP holders commit crimes." Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, quoted on Fox & Friends, 8 Jul, 2008

    "Sometimes, when you're making gumbo, people just show up.", Leah Chase

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    Over here now!
    Short answer is I'm out a fire exit with my kid. The wife knows not to look for me inside and that the plan is to exit and cell phone later from safety. Nowadays, you need to have everyone on board with a family plan.
    Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Jmac00's Avatar
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    this is pretty interesting. Immediately I can think of a couple of situations

    First thing is assess the where the shooter is and what is he/she up to.

    Initially I will have the advantage of surprise and the BG has no idea where I am.....I have a fair idea of where he/she is. ( at this point my weapon is still holstered~~~I don't want to scare or startle other customers, there is going to be a lot of screaming and crying going on)

    second, quickly and quietly assess my child's situation (the wife better be on the floor playing dead) I'm going to assume my kid is smart enough to realize theres a problem and he/she should all ready be on the move to find me.

    Once I have my kid in hand, I look for an exit. If I find a door ( I don't care what it says on it) we are going through.

    Once the kid is outside, I will cover the door so others can get out.


    On the other hand, if the shooter is headed toward my child, one of us is about to die.

    I can think of a couple more situations, there sure are a lot of variables to think about

  10. #10
    Member Array grandma4's Avatar
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    I totally agree with semperfi - preplanning is absolutely neccessary with your family. In this day and age you can't wait till something happens to wing it, you must know what to do and what they will do.

    Now, this family has not made those plans, however, she is carrying. She already has the advantage, she is in sight of the door opening. She knows where the bg is. So -- her first concern is going to be the safety of her child who is in the back of the store just as yours has got to be. Safety of the child first. Get him to safety thru the employee stock room etc. If the gunfire continues and it gets closer to the back, then you maybe can get a peek at him, and take him out. You have also got to figure wife is if at all possible working her way to the back of the store to find you so she is going to be on the offesive with bg if possible. One advantage that you both have is that there are more than one person with a defensive weapon, hopefully this guy is only one.

    It's one of those situations that can only be evaluatived on a min. by min. time frame.
    Pre Planning - it has to be something that is done and it's just as important as training with the weapon or carrying the right ammo.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by semperfi.45 View Post
    Short answer is I'm out a fire exit with my kid. The wife knows not to look for me inside and that the plan is to exit and cell phone later from safety. Nowadays, you need to have everyone on board with a family plan.
    Agreed. ^^

    Both of my kids and I have a plan and even a secret word that is a catch all phrase meaning DaDa is serious, it is time to go _RIGHT NOW_ drop what you're doing and get behind me (2 yr. old son followed by his 6 yr. old sister) and we roll.
    The issue could be anything; Fire, Medical Emergency, Weather change, whatever.
    I practice it with my kids and they look at it as a game though they know dad is serious about it.

    Meanwhile mom is entrenched in sand, with her head 6' in it.
    She'll hear nothing about as much and again is stiffly anti gun. The only people who need guns are the cops et. al. If something goes wrong I'll just dial 911 or "scream" for help...or it was your time fatalism.

    I say okay fine, you do that and check your watch for what time it is.
    Meanwhile me and the kids, we have work to do.

    I'd hate to leave her behind but if it came down to the kids or we three versus she. Then well her time is up, per her own sentiment.

    For folks who are not in a situation such as mine your suggestion is very much on point.
    Family plan and plan _now_ before you actually need it.

    - Janq

    P.S. - I would and do expect her to do same.
    If at all by any means she can get the kids to a safe place or away from the scene, then do so as the singular priority.
    Wherever I am is wherever I am. I'm a big boy and can take care of myself. Be it the house on fire or Deebo running up into the store with an AK and depression as we're shopping at Old Navy.
    Oh, and do not dial my phone while it's all going down. I will not answer nor attempt to hold a conversation about 'what's going on' and where I am as I'm trying to survive and duck Deebo's notice/attention. Duh.
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  12. #12
    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by semperfi.45 View Post
    Short answer is I'm out a fire exit with my kid. The wife knows not to look for me inside and that the plan is to exit and cell phone later from safety. Nowadays, you need to have everyone on board with a family plan.
    I agree.


  13. #13
    Member Array twocan's Avatar
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    I'm with Janq

    Grab the kids.
    Set up a barrier.
    Keep the door locked. (same as a safe room)
    Have discussed this possibility with my wife prior to this incident.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Phillep Harding's Avatar
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    The local mall has a fire escape route map on the wall near the office. I've nearly memorized the thing. I'd recommend any of you doing the same if you can find the map.

    Maybe you can get access to such a map if you are on good terms with one of the store managers or employees?

    No family, so I don't have a plan except to vacate if possible, return fire if necessary.

  15. #15
    Member Array titleist's Avatar
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    For those of you who answered going the back of the store, say you do. You go back, hear footsteps coming around the adjacent shelf. You level your sidearm and wait to identify who comes around...

    You see a man
    You see a gun


    What if it's just another one of our posters who stripped leather before retreating?

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