Police response during mass shooting event {Not Gun Control, 2nd Amendment or Politics}

My husband and I have been discussing how the Uvalde shooting was handled. There were parents at the school while it was still going on that were being prevented from entering the school by police officers.

My husband is telling me that the data (based on other mass shootings) says that every available officer should have gone into the building to neutralize the shooter. That is, having every available officer going in increases the probability and speed of neutraluzing the threat. Therefore, rather than preventing those people from going in (i.e. controlling the perimeter), they should have gone in. AND, since the parents wouldn’t be stopped, they would go in as well.

That sounds like a bad idea to me. It would add chaos to an already chaotic situation. But he is saying that the data says it would lead to a more favorable result. What do you think?

Admittedly, I’m not sure where this data came from and our discussion was getting a little heated so I’ve let it go for now. But I’ll get more details about this data soon.

I moved this to IMHO as not really a question for FQ.

Please note for everyone, this is not a gun control or politics thread. Please keep on the subject of how police should handle mass/school shootings.

Note: Magiver was instructed to stop posting in this thread.

This topic was automatically opened after 7 minutes.

After the shooting at Columbine High School, in Colorado (April 1999), the general thought about how to respond quickly became ‘rapid deployment:’

Before the Colorado shooting, responding officers would set up a secure perimeter around the crime scene before even thinking about moving on the suspect.

Law enforcement moving immediately toward the gunfire doesn’t preclude a few rookies (or Community Service Officers or firefighters or ?) from doing crowd/parent control.

So far, it doesn’t look like the post-Columbine model was used in Uvalde.

For one moment, put yourself in the shoes of one of the shooting victims. You’ve been hiding in a room for the last 15 minutes hoping like hell the shooter doesn’t come in. And, damn it, there he is. One by one, he starts shooting the people you’ve been hiding with and finally he’s standing in front of you. At what point during this process do you think to yourself, “Thank goodness the police aren’t here adding chaos to this situation?”

Allowing an active shooting to remain unchallenged for 40 minutes should be unacceptable. All my life I’ve been told to call the police if I’m in trouble. Why? I obviously can’t count on them for help.

If the officers who engaged him outside the school had aggressively pursued Ramos, he would have been distracted from his goal. Even if he had found and entered the occupied class room, he would have been constantly engaged with the officers instead of the students. Additional officers could have harassed Ramos through windows.

These guys act like they are paid for crowd control “Nothing to see folks, move along”.

And in this particular case, there is an allegation that at least one officer want in to bring his own child out safely, while the other officers were preventing non-police parents from going in.

There will be a lawsuit, if that is correct.

I suspect the roads are crowded with lawyers seeking out victims.

The first steps in crisis management as it applies to an active shooter or other ‘occupational hazard’ is to size up the scene, identify the hazard(s), and establish a perimeter so that people who are not designated first responders participating in scene management and rescue are not put in danger and become additional victims. In the case of an active shooter scenario, having parents or other non-first responders entering the perimeter and going wherever means that not only are they at risk of being injured or killed (which takes away medical resources from victims already injured) but they could also be misidentified as a shooter, especially in Texas where ordinary civilians are frequently armed. A responding police officer probably isn’t going to have a good description of the shooter and so anybody with a gun not and not clearly marked as ‘POLICE’ presents a potential threat (and vice versa; some would-be citizen-hero might panic upon seeing a figure with a gun and shoot). Having random people entering the scene also contaminates any evidence on scene although that is obviously an ancillary issue in the case of an active shooter.

The idea of a mass ‘bum rush’ into an active shooter situation is also pretty bad tactically. Police trained in responding to active shooter events will operate as a team, entering and clearing room by room and (hopefully) communicating with other teams doing the same so that they don’t suddenly come upon one another or waste time going over previously cleared tracks, and can clear an evacuation route for students and teacher to exit the building to safety. Even if only one shooter is reported they cannot just assume that they are the only threat; the response teams need to ensure that they have both cleared all possible spaces as well as identified any victims who need aid.

I know for some it seems like the best response is to rush in with all available force toward where the shooter is assumed to be, but that is a rabble that is more likely to miss the shooter, end up tripping over one another, and fail to control the scene and evacuate possible victims or hostages. An active shooter situation in a school, hospital, or other public space with a lot of innocent people is a tactical clusterfuck of a situation and an after action analysis will always turn up things that could have and should have been done differently, so of course the “Monday morning quarterbacks” that populate talking head panels will say that the responders should have done this or failed to do that, but realistically just getting a handle on the situation and identifying the threat is hard enough without random people wandering into the scene and trying to ‘help’ in ways that actually make more hazards and produce more victims.

I cannot speak to what was actually done in the Uvalde shooting because I have (quite intentionally) not been following it, but after any kind of incident there is always a bunch of allegations of what did or did not happen that often turn out to be rumor, confusion, and nonsense. Instead of responding to whatever newshead repeated from ‘an inside source’ or what a random observer claimed, let’s see what actual reports show to have occurred.


Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I don’t think additional (trained and armed) officers would have added chaos. It’s the untrained random people that would have added chaos.

You are correct; although many police departments slap the words “Protect and Serve” liberally across vehicles, they are not specifically charged with protecting you and cannot generally be held as liable for not doing so. Obviously, despite the large number of overlapping law enforcement agencies and very well armed police officers with high capacity service pistols and AR-15 platform carbines, mass shooters do not seem to be deterred in the slightest. Instead of depending upon more law enforcement as a deterrent to address this issue perhaps we should be looking to other prevention-oriented measures.


But not in this thread please.

Sorry; didn’t intend to sidetrack the main discussion or violate your directions upthread.


Never mind. I see this is the wrong thread.

It is my understanding that post-Columbine the emphasis became “rapid deployment” (as opposed to the pre-Columbine approach which would have treated the events more like hostage situations).

I believe that the idea was that many, if not most, mass shooters will either kill themselves when confronted or will be killed and, as importantly, that they will continue to kill innocents until they were confronted. As a result, the key is engaging the shooter as fast as possible.

I’m not sure how that factors in when you’re talking about bystanders rushing in. But I also don’t know how likely it would be that bystanders would follow the police in – the stories from Texas seems to suggest parents looking to go in because they believe the police were not doing so.

Without a secure perimeter, the shooter might have tried to just walk away. Unlikely since this is a grade school and would not blend in. But in these events, chaos is king.

Forty minutes seems like a long, long time though.

Yup, active shooter situations really suck. They’re quite easily bad enough that nobody involved in one ever thinks about all the ways they can be worse. But they can be. You know what’s worse than an active shooter? Multiple active shooters. Which is likely to be what you get by allowing more people in.

I don’t imagine that thought would comfort me as an active shooter takes casual aim and opens fire. I’d rather the police get in there ASAP then allow an active shooter 40+ minutes to do as they will.

At this point, it seems the first police to respond were inept and perhaps cowardly.