Active Shooter or Aggressor Overview
An active shooter or aggressor is a person who appears to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area—typically using firearms but possibly using other weapons, such as knives, vehicles, and/or improvised explosive devices (IED) to cause additional mayhem and to impede law enforcement and emergency services responders. There may be no pattern or method to their selection of victims.
These situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, so it’s important that you act quickly and that you remember “Run. Hide. Fight.”
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Indiana University is thoroughly committed to the safety and wellbeing of all members of the University community. In recent years, we have established comprehensive university-wide policies and programs in a wide variety of areas to ensure the safety of our campuses and of our students, faculty, and staff. Even more importantly, countless students and professionals are dedicated to helping to create a shared culture at Indiana University that fosters a supportive and safe environment for learning and for living.
For the Indiana University Police Department, protecting our scenic and vibrant campuses throughout the state is a responsibility that we take very seriously. Each campus has a unique personality. Some have large residential populations or an urban flavor. Some cater to commuters. We routinely host concerts, festivals, and major sporting events, including Big 10 contests and tournaments. Similarities include welcoming environments and an emphasis on excellence and on safety. Just like the Indiana University Police Department and Emergency Management staff, you have a role as well. Unfortunately, we've seen how tragic events with an active aggressor have played out on college campuses and office settings throughout the United States. These life altering events can be scary and traumatic. IUPD wants you to have a plan and be ready to react. RUN, HIDE, FIGHT is a national model that we've adopted on all our campuses. Whether you are on campus or at a community event or a place of business, this is your plan for what to do if someone with a weapon is actively trying to kill or hurt people. You will likely never need to use these steps, but thinking about what to do during an active aggressor or active shooter situation is the first step in keeping yourself and others safe around you.
Active aggressor attacks are dynamic and unpredictable, but the first step is simple. If you see an attacker or hear gun shots, try to determine the location and then get away as quickly as possible. Leave the area. Don't worry about your belongings. Tell others to run, but don't wait for them. Make those around you aware of the threat in an attempt to prevent them from entering a dangerous situation. Once outside, keep running. Call 911 after you've reach a safe location. Remember to tell the 911 operator where the incident took place. Don't assume they know your location. Be as specific as possible to ensure first responders have an exact location.
- 911, where is your emergency?
- I'm on campus of Indiana University. There's a white male in the business building. He's wearing blue jeans and a gray shirt. He's attacking people with a gun.
- Okay, we'll have officers on the way.
- Thank you.
- There's a shooter in the building. There's a shooter in the building.
- Everybody, come on, come on.
If you think the attacker's nearby, and you can't run, then you need to make a decisive decision and hide. Barricade doors with whatever's available. Chairs, tables, bookcases, anything that will stop or slow down an attacker. In medical or research settings, a wheeled bed locked by the door or a research bench may be an option. Turn off the lights, silence your cell phone, including vibration, and hide. And please don't share on social media your location.
During an attack, if you cannot avoid the attacker, then get ready to fight aggressively with anything you can get your hands on. Distraction can help. You can yell and scream and throw things at the attacker. And when you fight, try as quickly as you can to get the weapon from him and work with others to take him down.
Go, go! Come on!
- [Voice On Radio] IU officers please be en route to the business building. We have a report of an active shooter, a white male, wearing a gray shirt, and blue jeans.
Police will arrive at the scene very quickly. You need to know their first priority will be stopping the attacker, not tending the injured.
- Hands up, hands up. Get up! Move!
- Follow their instructions and keep your hands visible at all times.
- [Officer] Contact! Drop the gun! On your stomach!
Studies show that before violent attacks assailants often provide clues or signs that something is wrong or that they intend to do harm. We just need to recognize them and to let someone know. We also need to each do our part to try to prevent these from happening. If you see signs that concern you call 911.
If you're simply concerned about a student or colleagues' behavior, you can call IUPD. Or you can contact your behavioral consultation team for your campus. For a list of behavioral signs to look out for please visit protect.iu.edu.
If you receive an IU Notify or are aware of an active aggressor incident, be prepared to act immediately. It's important to make sure your IU notify contact information is updated by going to one.iu.edu Receiving messages by text is the quickest and most reliable way to receive them. You can also participate in safety training and programs conducted by IUPD and emergency management staff throughout the year. Check the protect IU website and university's human resource training website for more information.
Active aggressor attacks are rare but we do know from news reports, they do occur. That's why we want you to remember RUN, HIDE, FIGHT. At Indiana University we want you to be prepared, not frightened. Concepts like see something, say something, RUN, HIDE, FIGHT, can help keep our community safe no matter where you are.