Suicidal Active Shooter: What Would You Do?

Your team responds to a suicidal teenager at the local high school. When he points a gun at his head, it's decision time. Give us your solution to this dilemma.

Bob Parker Bio Headshot

Photo via Israel/Flickr.Photo via Israel/Flickr.With this SWAT blog, we're presenting a scenario for your consideration. We'd like to know how you would handle it, so please add your comments below. In the next post, we'll give you the outcome. Here's the set up:

The call came in from the administration office of the local high school. They reported that a student was in the hallway in front of the main office waving around a handgun. The caller states the issue might be a bad breakup with a girlfriend. A friend of the male with the gun was heard to say, "Put the gun away, it's not worth it." Officers have heard no reports of shots fired or injured people.

The school staff evacuated some of the students. There's still a crowd of students in the area that seem to be friends and acquaintances of the suspect. It's not known whether the female, who is the object of his affection, is in the area.

The school's administrative area is located on the first floor immediately to the right of the main lobby. There's also a large group of students who are reluctant to leave the lobby, apparently hoping to see the scenario play out.

You're part of a team of three officers arriving together at the school. You park your cruisers by the side of the building.

Using a back entrance door held open by a helpful custodian, your team advances to the lobby area. From concealment, you can see a white male, approximately 17 years old. He's dressed in blue jeans, blue running shoes and a black T-shirt. He's holding what appears to be a large, black semi-automatic pistol. The weapon is at his right side, pointed at the floor.

This suspect matches the description that the caller gave in the initial 911 call. He appears to be arguing with some of the students standing around him. His voice is loud and he is cursing. Your team hears him say, "Just a couple of things left to do."

One of the bystanders then tells the others, "The cops are here." Most of the crowd scatters. A few remain. Your hand has been forced and the three of you, with weapons on the suspect, move within 30 feet. One team member takes some hard cover behind a large pillar. Two of you are out in the open. In a loud commanding voice, you order the suspect to drop the weapon and the others to leave the area.

The suspect moves the pistol up and points it at his head. Some of the others tell you to leave and yell, "We can handle this." You shout commands at them again. They move into the lobby but not leaving the area. You again command the suspect to drop his weapon. He replies, "It's OK, I'm going to do myself. I loved her so much. I don't want anyone else to get hurt."

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Bob Parker Bio Headshot
Lieutenant (Ret.)
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