An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined space or other populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there may be no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the shooting and mitigate harm to victims. Active shooters usually will continue to move throughout a building or an area until stopped by law enforcement, suicide, or other intervention. While it is extremely difficult to determine whether an individual will engage in this type of violence, there are observable behaviors that are frequently present in individuals who ultimately become an Active Shooter.
Because Active Shooter situations evolve rapidly and may involve life-threatening injuries, it is important to know how to quickly respond to minimize the chance of injury to yourself and others. It is also important for those in positions of workplace leadership (i.e., managers, floor monitors, teachers and school personnel) to model the appropriate responses because they are often influential and visible to direct the behavior of those in harm’s way.