With this SWAT blog, we're presenting an active-shooter scenario for your consideration. We'd like to know how you would handle it, so please add your comments below.
The scenario is based on an actual incident. In the next post, we'll give you the actual outcome. OK, here's the set up:
It's Sunday morning (around 10 a.m.) in a small, more rural town (of about 1,200 residents). The local police department has 12 sworn officers and one patrol officer on duty. The sheriff's department has two deputies on patrol in different parts of the county.
The lone officer on duty receives a radio call to investigate the sound of gunfire at the edge of town. This isn't an unusual call for the area. From time to time, target shooters and hunters enter the area and have to be warned off. Hunting and target shooting have been prohibited in the area because of its close proximity to a nursing home with an Alzheimer's unit.
It takes the officer three minutes to drive to the area. When he arrives in the parking lot of the nursing home, the officer observes a white male bleeding and leaning against a vehicle. The wounded man tells the officer he came to visit his elderly mother at the home. He also says that as he exited his vehicle a heavy set, white male with a beard shot him with a shotgun. He says the suspect walked into the home with his shotgun and a handgun. He heard gunshots from inside the home after the gunman entered.
The officer calls for backup from the sheriff and a rescue squad for the wounded party. The officer approaches the front door of the home and enters the lobby. There he finds three individuals, one on the floor bleeding and two elderly people in wheelchairs also bleeding from what appear to be gunshot wounds. All appear to be dead.
At this point, the dispatcher advises that the sheriff's deputies are at least three minutes away. An employee tells the officer that after shooting the people in the lobby, the gunman headed into a corridor that leads to the Alzheimer's unit. The employee adds that the shooter's estranged wife works in that unit. At this point, the officer hears four more gunshots and moves toward the corridor.
Now that you've been presented with the scenario, what would you do?
Would you move toward the corridor to close on the shooter or wait for backup? You're carrying only your .40-caliber service sidearm. Would you engage the suspect?
Look at the totality of the information given. Consider the up side, as well as what can go wrong before you choose a course of action.
Bob Parker is the Patrol Section chair for the National Tactical Officers Association.