top of page

Active Shooter

Incidents on the Rise

According to the FBI, the number of active shooter incidents in the United States has doubled in just four years. From 20 active shooter events in 2016, there were 40 such events in 2020.  California had the most active shooter incidents in 2020 with six incidents.

What’s an Active Shooter?

An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and have no pattern or method to their selection of victims, which creates an unpredictable and quickly evolving situation that can result in loss of life and injury. Other active shooter attack methods may also include bladed weapons, vehicles, and improvised explosive devices. While law enforcement is usually required to end an active shooter situation, individuals can take steps to prepare mentally and physically for the possibility of this type of event occurring in order to save lives.

Be Alert to Signs of Trouble

While active shooter situations are often unpredictable, paying careful attention to warning signs could go a long way in mitigating a potential incident. Some shooters demonstrate progressively escalating risk factors in their mindsets and behaviors that characterize them as violent prior to an attack. Recognizing these warning signs and reaching out for help could bring at-risk individuals to the attention of law enforcement sooner and prevent a future attack.


Potential Warning Signs include:

  • Increasingly erratic, unsafe, or aggressive behaviors.

  • Hostile behavior based on claims of injustice or perceived wrongdoing.

  • Drug and alcohol abuse.

  • Claims of marginalization or distancing from friends and colleagues.

  • Changes in performance at work.

  • Sudden and dramatic changes in home life or in personality.

  • Financial difficulties.

  • Pending civil or criminal litigation.

  • Observable grievances and making statements of retribution.

In case of an active shooter attack:

  • “Run” to the nearest exits, making use of available concealment while moving away from the source of hazard.

  • If unable to safely evacuate, "hide" in a secure area where access can be blocked or entryways can be locked, and, as appropriate, "fight".

  • If no rapid escape is possible, seek cover behind any available natural or artificial objects that eliminate direct line of sight from the source of hazard.

  • Call 9-1-1 and remain alert for potential secondary attacks.

  • Render first aid when safe to do so.

  • Maintain situational awareness while providing assistance to others.

  • When help arrives, follow instructions given by law enforcement and first responders.

Additional Resources:

Image by Celpax
Image by Jonnica Hill
bottom of page