What to do if you are involved in an active shooter situation - AmericaNowNews.com

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What to do if you are involved in an active shooter situation

The numbers are absolutely frightening: According to the CDC, gun violence claims more than 30,000 lives in the U.S. every year. It's an epidemic. It's terrifying. And for each person who dies from a gunshot, another two are wounded. So what can we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones?

The short answer: Be prepared.

We joined forces with the LAPD to learn how best to survive if you ever find yourself caught in the crossfire of an armed robbery, or worse--a mass shooting like Virginia Tech or Columbine.

On February 28, 1997, two heavily-armed men stormed the Bank of America's North Hollywood branch. This was a bank robbery gone very wrong. Lt. Alan Hamilton and his partner responded to the radio call.

"We were kind of figuring it would be over by the time we got there. We never knew that we were headed to the longest police shootout in United States history. I've never seen so many officers shot. I've never seen so many civilians shot, and hiding and scared," says Hamilton.

Only the suspects died that day. Hamilton says that in any armed robbery, there's always the risk that innocent bystanders will be killed and how you react in that moment can mean the difference between life and death.

Police officers across the country are trained to act quickly when responding to an armed robbery. Their primary goal is to prevent the gunman from killing innocent bystanders.

Hamilton says everyone needs to be prepared because anyone anywhere can suddenly find themselves in the wrong the place at the wrong time.

"You're going to be nervous in an armed robbery. That robber is going to be nervous as well. You don't want to make any startling sounds. You don't want to make any sudden movements that are going to make that suspect, with his finger on the trigger, do something drastic," says Hamilton.

"They're generally going to be prepared to shoot and if you get in their way there's a good chance, and a likelihood, that's going to happen. The best thing to do: Comply with the demands of the robber, provide your property if it's requested, and keep the situation calm. If you make action toward the robber, that's going to make them nervous. You're placing yourself in unnecessary jeopardy," says Hamilton.

As dangerous as an armed robbery is, there's a gunman scenario that's far more terrifying and increasingly more frequent. Police call it the "active shooter."

"The goal of the active shooter is to get as high of a body count as possible. They're going to seek out their victims until their actions are stopped. The people who are caught in that situation become desperate very quickly. If you find yourself caught in an active shooter scenario, the best thing to do is remove yourself from that location," says Hamilton.

Your number one goal is always going to be get out of that area. But sometimes in the confusion of an active shooter event getting out is simply not possible.

"There are going to be situations where you just can't escape. So that may leave very few options. One of those options is to attempt to hide from the assailant. But you have to remember, it's only concealment. That active shooter is going to seek out areas where people conceal themselves and continue their violence," says Hamilton.

If you can't run and you can't hide, your final option is to fight back.

"It's important that if it comes down to this last chance, you have to be observant and be ready to take advantage of any action by that shooter that may place them in a position of disadvantage. They may be reloading. They may be distracted by other victims. That's the time to take action," says Hamilton.

Hamilton stresses your best chance for survival is putting the greatest distance between you and the active shooter.

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