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“Violence shattered a wintry Saturday morning at a popular suburban mall here when a gunman shot and killed two employees of a skateboarding shop, sending panicked shoppers into hiding,” reports. “The suspected gunman was later found dead near a shotgun and ammunition, police said. His victims were a man and a woman, both in their 20s, Howard County Police Chief Bill McMahon said at a late afternoon news conference.” “Later” as in two minutes after the police received the first 911 call alerting them that an active shooter was on the premises. Two minutes . . .

Enough time for the shooter to kill two people with a shotgun. Apparently, he had “a great deal of ammunition.” How many more people could he have killed in 120 seconds? Plenty. How long would it take an armed civilian to stop a shooter from taking innocent life? That depends on a number of variables. But without any immediate ballistic intervention, even a two-minute response time isn’t enough. Ipso facto. And that’s in a mall that’s prepared for just such an event.

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      • When I first heard about this my immediate reaction was,”OH MY GOD, I HOPE NO ONE ELSE THERE IS ARMED!!!”. Needless to say I was so relieved when I found out that everyone in the mall (besides the shooter) was completely disarmed. Think of how much worse it could’ve been. Way to go Marylanders!

  1. I guarantee they were queuing at the door until the shooting stopped. You know, because it would be a real tragedy if a “public servant” was endangered while actually serving the public.

    • I don’t want to go into any detail because I’m not sure if the orders from the chief against talking to the media expired after the inquest was done, but I can tell you from personal experience that not all of us wait.

      Not trying to brag, either, it was a terrible situation and there were no winners- but we went in as soon as we arrived and stopped the bad guy. Just as many of the people who post here, police or not, would have done. And no, I don’t think it was fast enough then, either.

      Don’t paint all of us with the Newtown brush.

      • No doubt you’re offended by being lumped in with the infamous approached taken by other departments. Still, none of us really knows the details of every local department’s protocols. Some will set up a perimeter and wait. Others will storm the place even if that means a single first arriving patrolman, not an MRAP and tac team. The rest fall somewhere in between.

        Bottom line is nobody knows, and no matter the response time and type, it’s impossible to be quick enough and good enough if they’re offsite. So one would be a fool to rely on the police.

        • I am not offended, just tired of people having no way of hearing the success stories along with the failures. This goes for good non-police shootings, too.

          Any department still operating with the doctrine of contain and call SWAT for an active shooter is so far behind the times it’s not even funny. I’m not even sure there are any left in the country.

          You are right, though. You would have to be a fool to rely on police as your sole means of protection. And I tell people that almost every week.

        • I think two minutes is excellent. That’s the time, max, that it takes in my township, and our PD is high quality. Two seconds to response by the shopkeeper is better, but that’s MD’s problem.

          And: What is it with the shotguns? Is it the new AR? CO, Navy Yard, MD…

        • That’s fair, Has, and you’re definitely right: between selective reporting by the media and selective perception by the public, it will probably always be the case that just about everybody has some serious deficiencies in their understanding of these issues. Some parts, they just don’t know, while other parts, what they know is just wrong.

          I do want to revise and extend my earlier comments. It isn’t that the police are useless, despite funny jabs so many of us take from time to time. It’s that defense against these events requires a multipoint approach. Police response, in terms of timeliness and potency, is only one point of that approach.

          There’s also hardening the locations, which is more feasible in some places (schools) than in others (malls). There’s arming and defending the targets themselves, which carries its own limitations for a variety of reasons. Then there’s identification and interception of would-be shooters themselves, also a challenge in its own right.

          One thing most of us might be able to agree on is that if this were such an easy problem to solve, then it probably would have been so by now.

      • I was gonna say — two minutes is an amazing response time — not as good as an armed citizen or cop on the scene, but PDQ.

      • I’ve got nothing against good police officers, but even the most trustworthy public servant isn’t superhuman. You can only get there as fast as you can get there. Between a 911 call being made and you running into harm’s way to confront the shooter, a whole lot of time goes by in which a lot of things can go horribly wrong.

        I don’t think armed citizens are always perfect either. There are some tools in the pro-gun camp. But on the whole, widespread carry is the best way to limit the damage of a mass shooter scenario.

  2. Apparently, it was some sort of domestic situation. If he meant to go a bigger spree, there is, as of now, no indication of it. Maybe the speedy arrival of the cops ruined his plans. No se.

  3. Please note (very important) it was ONLY 2 minutes because the police/swat were in the area on an unrelated assignment. This was an extremely lucky break.

      • I am not 100% sure there isn’t. It’s rumored that there is but its some kind of secret. I do know the security guards are not armed. I noticed that, again, last week, and thought it was a bad idea. They probably don’t want to pay the $$ they would need to pay to hire people who could carry – the HoCo police make a very very decent living – we are talking well over $60k plus pension for an experienced officer.

        Plus, that mall is pretty big, even if there was a plainclothes officer, it could take two minutes between the time they got the call to run to the other end.

        • Armed mall cops. Good idea. Then arm the Campus “police”. Perhaps the Maryland “Transit police” can cover the malls. Get a tablet on their Segway so can access their databases.

    • I find it very interesting how often these tactical teams just happen to be in the area when this shit happens, they just happened to be performing an excercise in the area of the sandy hook shooting as well, to be prepared for just such a scenario …

    • As one who lives within a mile of the Mall in Columbia…

      I’m not at all surprised by the response time.

      The main Howard County Police station is in Ellicott City (north of the mall), and is connected by MD Route 29 to the Southern District Station (south of the mall). Route 29 goes right by the mall – and always seems to have at least one police vehicle on that stretch of road.

      I haven’t heard if there really was an unrelated assignment in the area – but I’ll probably have the opportunity to find out, after the excitement dies down.

      Personally, I put the Howard County Police near the top of law enforcement authorities in this area (some neighboring counties have law enforcement that … well, they have some challenges). In general, I’ve been pleased with their professionalism – and, from what I’ve seen of this incident, it only goes to reinforce that image.

    • Don’t play that game. A lot of people who exercise their 2A rights are treated for depression and other mental ailments, that doesn’t make them more predisposed to violence.

      • I’d bet the medications themselves are less important than the apparent reliance on meds alone to substitute for teaching kids how to handle interpersonal interactions in a healthy manner.

      • On SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) drugs a “Black Box” medical warning usually means that, compared to a placebo, the drug causes an increase in “lethal” (suicide, murder, etc) thoughts. And of the top SSRI drugs, nearly all have Black Box warnings for youths. So, yeah, some of the drugs might kinda cause murders.

        The brain works on chemicals – juice it up with alternate chemicals and you can get some interesting (and sometimes highly repeatable) results. But it doesn’t always work like it’s ‘sposed to. And sometimes even the “failures” are predictable and repeat frequently. Now, I STRONGLY believe there’s still a moral element here, don’t get me wrong. But Sertaline and Paroxetine are not like beer and wine – there’s a LOT more going on when they are in someone’s system.

    • The question of “List of meds, please,” is appropriate because sometimes the meds themselves DO cause the shooter to act.

      It is common knowledge that psychotropic drugs administered to counter-act some mental conditions frequently have side effects which cause depression and suicidal tendencies. There are numerous incidents where patients on prescription drugs from mental health professionals (shrinks) have committed murder-suicides.

    • This is not a criticism of police. That cops will rush to and then into a potential active shooter situation is to their eternal credit. (Remember, it was a LEO who ended the Arapahoe shooting.)

      This is a criticism of the anti-gun policymaker mindset that “the police will protect you, so you don’t need a gun.”

    • I don”t think Robert is criticizing the police per se. Response time is proximity driven. Unless an officer is right there you are on your own. We criticize LEOS who tell us that we can’t defend ourselves and that we should just suck it up.

    • He wasn’t criticizing the cops. The point is that even two minutes is too long if you’re the one getting shot at and you can’t shoot back because you’re not armed. Get it?

    • I don’t think it’s a criticism of police response time but the absurdity that people should have to wait any amount of time to defend themselves and those around them from a criminal hell-bent on destruction.

      Edit: Damn you all. You beat me to it.

      • Not just that people should have to “wait any amount of time,” but that we should be expected to wait an UNKOWN and unpredictable amount of time for help to arrive. Especially when help should be right at our side at all times.

    • Funny because I don’t see it as that and I am a cop. We can’t be everywhere at once and the front line officers aren’t afraid to admit that fact. I’d rather get there and find a good guy with a gun and a dead bad guy than a mall full of victims because of some stupid “gun free zone”. The elitist attitude comes from chiefs and liberal cesspools like NYC and Chicago.

      • I don’t mean to sound like a personal attack, because it is not. That being said, admit that if you saw a “good guy with a gun and a dead bad guy” you would STILL ARREST the good guy.

        • Detain, yes, because the only person who knows who the good and bad guys would be in that scenario is the good guy who’s still standing.

          As soon as it became clear who the good guy was, through a statement like “I saw this guy come in with a shotgun and just start shooting with no warning or reason, and I acted to defend my life, and would you please let me contact a lawyer before answering further questions?” then the good guy would be thanked profusely and released.

          Hopefully there would be witness statements coming that cleared it up even faster, but really, if everything goes well you can expect to be at the station for a few hours. Same as they did for me, just different legal instructions and different questions. They took my gun, too, until the investigation was over.

          Arrest, no, without probable cause.

    • As a cop, I agree. I carry off duty, and I figure if you cannot return fire within a few seconds then you are truly buggered should an active shooter ever take an interest in you. By extension, the police / LEOs / Secret Service could only protect you if they were in you’re immediate proximity (inside roughly 10 feet), and could return fire against a threat within 2-3 seconds.

  4. *Speculation* the man and woman workers were killed by the woman’s boyfriend/husband after finding out the two were going behind his back. That’s my guess.

    • That’s the rumor currently being floated by the media. But since it comes from the media, there’s a large statistical probability that it’s wrong.

      • If the StateRunMedia™ reports its practically a given that A. the facts will be scrambled to be first, and
        B. Spun to fit The Narrative.

        Thank goodness most of American news consumer get it as evidenced by Fox’ rise and CNN’s fall.

        • The SRM version will be that the shotgun lied to the guy about his squeeze’s infidelity and provoked him to shoot two innocent people. Another bad gun.

    • If this were in fact the motivation behind the shootings, how exactly did this fool think he was going to improve the situation by this response?

      I am reminded of a French case where the husband was acquitted after shooting his wife when he found her in bed with another man. The judge asked why he had not shot the man instead of his wife.

      “If I shot the man,” he said, “She would just have a different one next week. I shot her to end the problem.”

      I don’t think that defense would work in this country.

  5. No spree, no AR-15. Non story in the media’s mind. Shannon Watts and her band of merry ghouls will flog this as long as they can for their 130,000 Fb followers and that will be that.

    • Good thing he followed the advice of Joe “Buy A Shotgun” Biden.

      I’m thinking it was probably another “Gun Free Zone” deathtrap too.

  6. Important clarification:

    A reasonably intelligent and patient assassin or spree killer always has the element of surprise and will always succeed in killing at least one person if not three or four … even if basically everyone was armed. Armed citizens will never prevent all deaths and that is not the objective. The objective is to minimize the casualties of violent attackers and to give the intended victims a fighting chance. And for those objectives, armed citizens are quite successful.

    • Agreed-
      I fully believe that if someone decided that I needed to die- they could kill me. And I’m one of those carry everywhere/head on a swivel nut-jobs. I can’t be 100% alert 100% of the time, and if there is no lead up to warn me that someone means me harm… I’m gone.
      Having said that, my carry everywhere keep alert attitude means that I’m less likely to get in a verbal fight with you (protip: it’s not worth it- ill leave) and if someone does demonstrate that they mean me harm before they get to me I can GTFO or fight to live.
      I prefer to GTFO but hey- not always an option.

  7. Like someone else posted, “it only takes seconds to call 911, it could take the rest of your life for help to arrive”. I have it on good authority that 100 percent of the mall goers around here are not disarmed, Randy

  8. I imagine this will be abandoned by the media pretty quick because the bad guy used a shotgun instead of a scary black rifle. Unless the fucker used one of those pesky AR-15 shotguns…

  9. We need a hero. Wouldn’t it be great if some shooter walked into a school/mall/theater/etc. with murderous intent only to be capped by a 73 year old grandmother of 8 who happened to have a snub-nosed revolver in her handbag? It would do more for the 2A movement than any election victory or pro-gun study. We had Jeanie Assam (spelling?) but she’d been trained in law enforcement. What I mean is some civilian who would otherwise be a potential victim saving the day with one shot. The Libs would absolutely self destruct!!

    • It has already happened on several occasions where either a school SRO or even a civilian has stopped someone with obvious or possible intentions of “mass murder”. The reason they aren’t reported in the same bloody-shirt waving way is that it doesn’t fit the narrative and there isn’t enough bloodshed to make it “newsworthy”.

      • True, true, but I guess I mean something dramatic. A gunman with a rifle, 3 pistols, a mask, body armor, and pack w/2000 rounds of ammo gets stopped cold by someone who doesn’t look the part. We’ve had Jeanne Assam as mentioned. She was very brave. The people at Gabriel Giffords’ shooting tackled Loughner. The SRO at the recent high school shooting quickly approached the boy with the shotgun before he could kill more. However, like you said, it doesn’t fit the anti-gun media’s template and is under reported. I guess I want something so heroic that it can’t be denied. A CCW citizen just utterly eliminating the threat at the door! Perhaps it’s wishful thinking and the press may down play it too. But my gut tells me someone is going to emerge at some point as the only reason 2 died instead of 20-30 (maybe an armed teacher) and everyone will take notice.

        • Sadly, I’m not sure it matters how heroic it is. It would probably still be buried.

          I was at a gun rights rally at my state capital the other week. One of the guys there had no idea that the Arapahoe HS shooting was stopped by a good guy with a gun. If he, a pro-gun guy, had no idea … what makes you think the masses will find out whenever a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun?

          This is a snippet from a post I made earlier today on a local gun forum, discussing coverage of shootings in the media:

          Look at the contrast in media coverage regarding “offensive gun uses” vs. “defensive gun uses.” This week:

          An “offensive gun use” in a public place (mall in Columbia, Maryland) draws NATIONAL attention. As I am typing this, it is the LEAD STORY on FOX News, ABC News, & CBS News, and is a front page article on MBSNC, the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Huffington Post, the Drudge Report, and probably numerous other news sources.

          Meanwhile, this week, we had several defensive gun use stories that were NOT plastered on the front page of every news web site in the country, like this one … and this one … and (listed five more DGU links, that TTAG won’t let me post).

          If it doesn’t fit their agenda, most of the media will not report it. If they feel pressured to report it, they’ll omit whatever details don’t fit their agenda (e.g. many news reports did NOT mentioned the armed good guy at Arapahoe). When a would-have-been mass shooting doesn’t occur, they feel justified in not reporting it because it wasn’t a mass shooting, and therefore in their minds is a non-story.

        • Delmarva Chip, how about this one? – a militant Jewish maniac comes to a white supremacist KKK rally in Mobile Alabama to murder as many anti-Semites as possible before committing suicide. As he pulls his AK from the violin case a black citizen army vet just back from Afghanistan who is working as a cab driver and also happens to have a CCW notices what’s about to take place and heroically pulls his cab in front of the Grand Dragon to shield him and then jumps out and fires a 3 round volley into the crazy Jewish assassins forehead as he slides across the cab hood (Starsky & Hutch style) as t.v. cameras roll. The black cab driver also happens to be the son of the local affiliates CNN correspondent for the southern U.S. and it’s splashed across every newspaper and t.v. by morning! Could happen….?…..!

        • There was an incident at a Houston, TX (I believe) school, ex husband trying to stab ex wife to death at the bus loading area. A guy off campus was close enough he was able to run in, subdue the stabber at gun point and most likely saved the woman’s life. It was a local story in the area, TTAG shared the story, the CCW permit holder even stopped by to comment, that’s it.

          There was Nick Meli at Clakcamas Mall in Oregon who did indeed heroically stop a mass shooter. The church concealed carrier in Aurora, CO who stopped a gunman during a service.

          It happens frequently, and each time it is wrongly discarded for use as a data point as an outlier.

          I have no doubt that there are many, many more that never break past the local level news, or where the defender is arrested for illegally owning the firearm and branded a fellow criminal.

    • Some one like Nick Meli?

      It doesn’t matter to those that want to take away everyone’s self defense. They have their feelings and that’s all that matters to them, reason be damned. I hope none of them actually have logical reasons for disarming the public because those would be the ones planning for tyranny. There is simply no other logical reason for disarming good people along with those who have been judged by a jury of their piers to be guilty of serious crimes.

  10. here we are at 9:30 pm and the HCPD tweets no ID of shooter, “techs working to ensure there is no danger from ammunition on shooter’s body.”

    OMG, he must have had an arsenal. Or, 4 shells and they are disassembling the shells with the slowest robot ever. Usually the HCPD does a great job, but I have a feeling that due to federal budget cuts some Federales are in there milking the clock and demanding approval for every itty bitty thing.

  11. The deceased have been identified, yet the shooter has not due to “possible explosives”, really? Domestic girlfriend, boyfriend, ex involved, etc et al, we already have scanner tapes and 911 calls but no ID of the shooter? White, black, Hispanic, other ? Kinda makes one say

  12. Just an observation from my hometown newspaper The Seattle Times.

    3 people dead in a shooting in Maryland, 56 comments thus far on the Times website.

    32 people dead in a nursing home fire in Canada = 2 comments.

    Nothing sexy or self-serving, though, saying that we need to do more about fire safety, “for the children” or, sadly true, the elderly and infirm. No Shannon Watts saying that we need to have “commons sense fire safety legislation,” no Piers Morgan talking about “pyromaniac fire-nuts,” no Joe “Double Nozzle” Biden saying that you don’t need a sprinkler system – two fire extinguishers is plenty. Just spray them toward the noise of the fire on the other side of the bedroom door…

  13. And the time it took a person concealed carry who isn’t the police to show up and do something to stop it here…………….still waiting.

    • Concealed Carry is all but forbidden in Maryland, and that mall is a gun free zone.

      Those two things cause more fatalities. gun free zones cause fatalities and lack of concealed carry people reduce deterrence to criminals.

      According to Mr. Obamas own ordered CDC report gun owners prevent 500,000 to three million crimes per year in the US. All crimes? no. A heck of a lot of crimes prevented? Yes

      this shooting occurred in a gun control heaven. Maryland as massive gun control. And if all of Feinstein and Bloomberg’s proposals had been in place this guy would have ben in that mall with that gun

    • Joe – Ever heard of the Clackamas Town Center in Oregon? You may want to google it and read about the premature ending to that rampage.

      • I know multiple events have been stopped by ccs, but there are always good people defying the laws just as the bad guys are. I wrote the above because rf cries about the police a lot during “major news covered” events when there were no known ccs there.

    • It happens frequently in places that have reasonable gun laws, laws that allow people to carry them and where gun free zones don’t carry the force of law. But it never makes it past local news. If you really want to consider the evidence for the position you seem to oppose and expand your understanding of the issue then look back through the archives here and keep watching TTAG. You will see those stories.

  14. “ropingdown says:

    And: What is it with the shotguns? Is it the new AR? CO, Navy Yard, MD…”

    I have a thought on this. Shotguns are cheaper than ARs, and to new or untrained shooters seem easier to use. In the case of CO and MD, these seem to be more spur of the moment crimes. In DC, the murderer tested an AR, but bought the shotgun. He’s dead, so we won’t know why, but easier and cheaper seem reasonable. In CO, the kid bought a shotgun. Could have bought an AR, but for whatever reason, he didn’t. (I’m thinking, HS kid, no money, shotty’s cheaper.) In this case, we’ll either find out the guy has had this shotgun in his closet for years, or he bought it that morning. He wasn’t going on a spree killing, (probably) he was getting revenge for being cheated on. (again, probably.)

    And BTW, can we, the PotG, please stop referring to murderers who use guns as ‘shooters?’ They’re MURDERERS. We don’t call murderers who use knives ‘stabbers.’ Let’s stop buying into the terminology of the anti-s. I own a shotgun, and I like to shoot it. I’M a shooter. YOU are shooters. People who use guns to murder lots of people are murderers. And assholes.

  15. What is it with Farago and the police bashing? 2 minutes is a very good response time. If there was a cop in every corner he wouldn’t stop whining about the police state.
    As for the armed citizen thing: Having a GGWG close might have helped, but that shouldn’t be plan A for an organized society, nor is it a warranty of total security.

  16. In the antis’ view, guns are intrinsically evil, and therefore there is no such thing as a good guy with a gun. We are now civilized, the Wild West is long gone, so why would anyone need a gun for their own protection, unless they were a criminal themselves, eg a drug dealer, not that drugs are bad anymore, we want them decriminalized…

    These are people who have no sense of personal responsibility for anything – they believe in regulations and laws to protect the children. No rough games in the playground, so kids get bored and bully other kids. Everybody works in some white collar industry or another, nobody gets their hands dirty or works up a sweat in their daily lives.

    Leave the nasty business of dealing with murderers and villains to the Police. Stay safe at home and watch the TV news. Whoever did what, I wasn’t responsible.

    There was a society where everyone looked the other way and didn’t see what was going on. Germany in the 1930s. Look how that turned out.

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