There was a shooting at a gas station in Nipomo, California yesterday that ended with law enforcement officer killing the shooter. Sounds simple, right? In some ways it was, but there’s something else to take away from the report by the mainstream media.
According to KSBY news it went down something like this:
A suspected gunman in Nipomo is dead after a confrontation with law enforcement officers.
At around 11:15 a.m. Friday, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office received reports of shots fired near the Vons gas station parking lot.
Witnesses who were across the street at Starbucks ran for cover as it quickly became an active shooter situation.
“I quickly yelled, ‘there’s a gun and everyone get inside!’ and we all started running towards the entrance,” said Leighanna Groshart.
“We just ran and didn’t look back,” said Elda Paola Cisneros.
One bystander said he watched the shooter get his gun out of his vehicle and start shooting:
Witnesses said the shooter fired multiple rounds after some sort of altercation.
“I saw a man standing right in front of the entrance to the Vons store and he was pointing a gun and I heard numerous more shots,” Cisneros said.
“[The gunman] goes to his vehicle, a silver SUV, pulls out a handgun and starts shooting at customers pumping gas,” said Richard Malvarose, who witnessed the shooting from the Miner’s ACE hardware store.
A bullet nearly missed him.
“A bullet whizzed right by my head. It’s probably still out in the parking lot somewhere,” Malvarose said.
The common theme, though, was sheltering in place:
For about two hours, about a dozen people sheltered in a back room of the Starbucks.
“Us adults were shaken. The kids were crying,” Cisneros said.
“Very anxious. I’m just glad that everybody is safe,” Groshart added.
Granted, it’s California, land of myriad gun control restrictions, bans, and impediments, but the witnesses complied with the conventional thinking what do do in this kind of situation that’s being pushed nationwide.
If there’s an active shooter, here’s what’s recommended by ready.gov:
RUN and escape if possible.
- Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority.
- Leave your belongings behind and get away.
- Help others escape, if possible, but evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
- Warn and prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
- Call 9-1-1 when you are safe and describe the shooter, location and weapons.
HIDE if escape is not possible.
- Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet.
- Silence all electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate.
- Lock and block doors, close blinds and turn off lights.
- Don’t hide in groups. Spread out along walls or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter.
- Try to communicate with police silently. Use text message or social media to tag your location or put a sign in a window.
- Stay in place until law enforcement gives you the all clear.
- Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view and provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.
FIGHT as an absolute last resort.
- Commit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.
- Recruit others to ambush the shooter with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.
- Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the shooter.
- Throw items and improvise weapons to distract and disarm the shooter.
That isn’t all bad advice, exactly, but it also far from ideal. The idea of hiding is taught in our schools, too. My daughter is a senior in high school and has grown up with active shooter drills of a ridiculous nature courtesy of the school system. And it’s a fatal one.
People don’t seem to understand that congregating in the back room of Starbucks for two hours doesn’t mean they’re safe. It means they’re a clump of easily-hit targets. Remember, bullets go through things. Cover and concealment are two wildly different concepts.
If you want to survive an active shooter situation, your best bet is to armed and trained. If you can simply leave the area, leave. Walking away from a potential fight is always the best courts of action.
But understand that may not be an option. Maybe your wife, husband, daughter, or son are inside the store somewhere. Maybe you decided long ago not to leave unarmed people at the mercy of an active killer (think long and hard about your choices and what you will and will not do in certain situations). Maybe your kids are in that school.
Be armed at every opportunity. Be properly trained. Don’t die hiding behind a bookshelf or a coffee kiosk, unarmed, hoping to go unnoticed. Oh learn what situational awareness and then develop some. It could very well save your ass in the long run.
What are the best tips you’ve heard for dealing with an active shooter situation?