4 things you can do in a mass shooting

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Experts fear mass shootings will rise in the United States during 2021. Gun Violence Archive tells us there were 107 Mass Shootings since the beginning of the year.

Utah’s last known mass shooting happened in Grantsville at the beginning of 2020. Five people were shot, and four did not survive.

Top brass says it’s only a matter of time before another one happens.

Every active shooter situation is different, so ABC4 spoke with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office about the four common things everyone can do if faced with an undesirable predicament.

Create Distance

“Anytime there is a dynamic event distance is your friend because distance makes time, so run away,” says Captain Taylor West with the Davis County Sheriff’s Office. “Literally, run away from the sounds of gunfire.”

One thing experts stress is to look up while in a building to find the exit signs.

“Obviously, find an exit that is quick and closest to you,” he adds. “Be careful enough to not corner yourself somewhere.”

Captain Taylor West with DCSO speaking to ABC4 News Jason Nguyen

Find Cover

While you’re creating critical distance, Capt. West says physically look around and find a safe place for cover.

“Not somewhere you can just hide but somewhere that can stop someone with a firearm,” he says. “Consider that glass is not going to stop a bullet as well as brick. Drywall is not going to stop a bullet as well as cement.”

Fortify Your Position

Experts say active shooters take the path of least resistance, so if you make it in a room, fortify it the best way you can.

Capt. West adds, “You can lock a door, barricade a door, stack desks in front of a door, turn the lights off so they can’t see, get somewhere that is hard to access, those are all good tips to keep yourself away from the shooter.”


If you ever come face to face with a shooter and have nowhere to turn, Captain West says get ready to fight.

“Be creative, engage them, and fight for your life. It’s literally a life or death battle with the highest level of risk,” he says. “So improvise, find some sort of tool to use. Use furniture, use brooms, sticks, books, whatever you have to fend a shooter off and know that their intent is to do you harm, and the fact of the matter is you’re going to have to return that same intent with equal force.”

Once officers start arriving, Capt. West says throw your hands high in the air. Arriving teams will be critical in deciding who is a threat and who is a victim.

“It is very natural for us to say put your hands in the air,” he says. “I think it shows us that is almost a peace offering, ‘my hands are up I mean no harm.’ So get your hands high in the air. Let the officers know you are obeying their orders, and just listen carefully to what they say.”

Hopefully, this won’t happen to you but if it does, experts like Capt. West tells us your emotions will run high, so to help you focus, remember to breathe.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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