Early Sunday morning on June 12, a murderer (who won’t be named here) pledging fealty to the Islamic terrorist group ISIS, entered an Orlando gay nightclub and shot more than 100 people. Preliminary accounts indicate that 49 innocent victims were killed and an additional 54 victims were hospitalized with injuries. It is likely that countless more were injured but did not seek immediate medical treatment.
The police have been very reluctant to release many details on this shooting as the investigation is still ongoing. We know that the killer made entry armed with both a rifle and a handgun shortly after “last call” at 2 am. An off-duty Orlando police officer working security in the club’s parking lot saw the man trying to enter the club carrying a rifle. The cop and the killer exchanged gunfire, apparently with neither getting hits. The cop reported the shooting. Within a minute, the first police cruiser arrived on scene. Details are sketchy, but it appears that the two Orlando PD officers who arrived in the cruiser made entry into the club and also exchanged gunfire with the killer. Police reports state that these two officers facilitated the evacuation of “dozens and dozens” of club patrons before retreating. No one reported why these men retreated or whether they were ordered by superiors to exit the building.
The man continued killing club goers without further police intervention for more than 20 minutes. At 2:22 am. the terrorist contacted police and stated he wanted to negotiate. In this call and several others he spoke Arabic and made reference to Islamic terrorism. After speaking to police, the killer also made a 67-second long phone call to a local TV news producer. During his communication with police he claimed to have numerous hostages and an explosive device.
Police spoke to the man by phone on and off for more than two hours as he continued to murder people in the club. At 5 am, fearing that the terrorist would detonate the explosive device and kill the remaining hostages, Orlando PD SWAT breached a wall with an armored vehicle and made entry. The terrorist fired on police officers through the hole the officers made in the wall. Officers returned fire, killing the man. All in all 1/3 of the total number of club patrons was either killed or injured in the shooting.
As I wrote earlier, we aren’t even close to knowing all of the details about this event. But given the facts we know, I would like to provide some guidance for my readers based on the “lessons learned” from this particular event. Undoubtedly, we will learn much more as the investigation progresses, but until then, here are a few tips to help you prevail should you encounter a similar scenario.
1) No one is coming to save you. I’m sorry. Did you think that ever since the police learned their lessons at Columbine they would be making immediate entry to save your life in an active killer event? Sometimes, but not always. It took cops almost three hours to make entry with enough people and equipment to neutralize the killer.
If you are caught up in one of these shootings, you must be able to take care of yourself. There’s no telling when the cops will make their rescue attempt. You MUST think for yourself. Don’t depend on ANYONE to save you! Escape, improve your position, find cover, attack the killer, do something! Waiting for a rescue attempt is not a successful alternative.
This advice goes for medical care as well. You need to know how to stop severe bleeding and prevent a tension pneumothorax from a sucking chest wound. If you get hit, the medics might not be allowed in until it’s too late. Just like you have to be ready to take care of yourself and your loved ones with a gun, you should also be ready to save their lives with a tourniquet as well.
Read the Remainder at Active Response Training