BY BRANDY TEMPLETON
According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, there were a total of 417 mass shootings in the United States in 2019.
Very few people can predict how they will react if they were confronted with an active shooter.
On Tuesday night Statesville Police Officer Chan Austin provided a group of community residents with tips for handling — and hopefully surviving — that very situation.
His best advice: Run, hide or fight.
First, if at all possible, evacuate the scene.
“Go where you feel safe,” Austin said.
Next, if escape isn’t possible, try to hide from the shooter.
“Go into a room and lock the door,” Austin said. “The shooter probably won’t try to break down the door.”
Finally, as a last resort, the officer told the group to take action against the shooter.
“Things have changed dramatically since the Columbine shooting in 1998,” Austin explained. “People aren’t waiting on us to get there anymore. They’re being proactive and taking action.”
He told attendees that everyday items can be used as weapons. Chairs, aerosol sprays, and even hot cups of coffee can be used to deter, delay or disable a shooter.
“You’ll need to be assertive and take the lead,” he said. “Courage is contagious.”
The training was held at St. Paul Lutheran Church.