Armed Intruders


An armed intruder is defined as one or more subjects who participate in, or pose a threat to participate in, a random or systematic shooting spree, demonstrating their intent to continuously harm others.  The overriding objective appears to be that of inflicting serious bodily injury/death rather than other criminal conduct.  The dynamics of this situation demand an immediate law enforcement response with the primary focus being on neutralizing the threat to stop the on-going harm to innocent victims.


As soon as practical, campus authorities will “sound the alarm” through a multifaceted notification system which includes whole or in-part: 

  • Emergency text messaging
  • Campus-wide e-mail
  • Campus auto-dialer system
  • Direct contact to building managers
  • Emergency siren (for weather emergencies)
  • Campus web-sites
  • Campus television system
  • And most important of all - “word of mouth”

It is important to understand that these messages will be limited in content mainly containing: The type of emergency, location, and simple responsive actions.  Prior planning as to where to gain additional information and what actions to take is imperative to a successful response. 


LOCKDOWN:  is defined as an emergency course of action ordered by a person or persons in command, to contain a problem or incident within the area of origin by controlling the movement of people.  Public Safety professionals on campus may utilize lockdown action in one building or facility where a problem(s) is occurring. In most cases, a campus-wide lockdown is not practical or feasible.


SHELTER IN PLACE:  is defined as securing oneself in or around their present location for the purpose of temporary protective shelter when there is an imminent threat and it is safer for one to remain where they are than it is to evacuate.  This is a temporary measure until conditions improve or until persons in authority can direct a safe evacuation.  This is not the same as taking shelter in case of severe weather-for those cases-proceed to designated safe areas.


When a hostile person(s) is actively causing death or serious bodily injury or the threat of imminent death or seriously bodily injury to person(s) within a building, we recommend the following procedures be implemented.

1.      Faculty/Staff/Students should immediately “sound the alarm” to anyone who may not have knowledge of the emergency (if safe to do so) and lock themselves in a classroom, dorm room, office, or any area that can be secured.  THIS IS REFERRED TO AS SHELTER IN PLACE.  If possible, cover any windows or openings that have a direct line of sight into the hallway.  Do not barricade the doorway unless immediately necessary to prevent the intruder from entering, because others may need to get in for sanctuary and/or there may be a need for immediate escape/evacuation.

2.      If communication is available-call 911 or 7777 and let them know who and where you are, how many people are with you, or any injuries or immediate medical needs that may be present.  Take any directions in relations to evacuation, staying put, or treatment of medical emergencies given by the communications operator.  If you have access to computers and/or other communication devices, monitor them for developing information, if they do not increase your chances of being detected by the intruder.


3.      Do not sound the fire alarm.  A fire alarm would signal the occupants to evacuate the building and thus place them in potential harm as they attempt to exit.


4.      Lock the windows and close the blinds or curtains.  Lie flat, face down, on floor, cover head, get under tables/desks if possible.


5.      Stay away from the windows and doors if possible.  Also try to stay away from the wall that is most exposed to the intruder.


6.      Turn off lights and audio equipment that may lead to detection.  Turn your cell phone ringer volume down to “vibrate only.”


7.      Try to remain as calm as possible.


8.      Keep everyone together and ensure you know and can account for everyone present if you have to evacuate quickly.  Know and discuss escape routes and be prepared to evacuate immediately if directed to do so.


9.      Keep area secure until police or other responsible authorities arrive and give you directions.


10.    If you are not in a secure area, try to get to one as soon as possible.


11.    If for some reason you are caught in an open area, such as a hallway or lounge, you must decide what you are going to do.  This is a very crucial time, and it can possibly mean life or death.

  • You can try to hide, but make sure it is a well-hidden space (if possible behind something that will stop bullets) or you may be found as the intruder moves through the building looking for victims.


  • If you think you can safely make it out of the building by running, then do so.  If you decide to run, do not run in a straight line.  Attempt to keep objects such as, desks cabinets, fixtures, etc. between you and the hostile person(s).  Once outside, do not run in a straight line.  Use trees, vehicles and other objects to block you from the view of intruders. If necessary, hide behind one of these objects that is capable of stopping bullets, lie down and stay motionless. When away from the immediate area of danger, summon help anyway you can and warn others.
  • If the person(s) is causing death or serious physical injury to others and you are unable to run or hide, you may choose to play dead if other victims are around you.


  • Your last option, if you are caught in an open area in a building, is to fight back.  This is dangerous and you are the only one who can make this decision, but depending on the situation, this could be your last option.
  • If you are caught by the intruder and are not going to fight back, obey all commands and don’t look the intruder in the eyes.


  • Once the police arrive, obey all commands. This may involve your being handcuffed or keeping your hands in the air. This is done for safety reasons, and once circumstances are evaluated by the police, they will give you further directions to follow.


12.    Once you have secured your area:        

  • Deal with panic/hysteria/stress reactions
  • Provide psychological first aid.
  • Provide for needs of students with disabilities


13.    If you and your students are taken hostage:

  • Follow the instructions of the captor.
  • Cooperate, be friendly if possible, don’t argue with or antagonize the captor or other hostages.
  • Inform the captor of medical or other needs.
  • Prepare yourself to wait; elapsed time is in your favor.
  • Don’t try to escape. Don’t try to resolve the situation by force unless you make the decision it is the last resort.
  • Be observant and try to remember everything you see or hear.
  • If rescue takes place, do everything the rescuers command immediately.
  • Be prepared for the unexpected; think of possible courses of actions for various contingencies.


14.    After the “all clear” signal is given by responsible authorities:

  • Check yourself and your students for injuries.
  • Account for all students - Stay put and await instructions.
  • As accurate information becomes available, explain to students what has happened and what will happen next . . . Allow them to ask questions, express feelings, etc.
  • Monitor students who are directly involved, or direct witnesses, and ID them for police investigators.
  • Preserve any physical evidence (don’t touch if possible) and direct police to it.
  • Stay with the students until they are released by responsible authorities.  Make note of your observations and debrief authorities.  Receive recovery/follow-up instructions.
  • Take advantage of personal support services - Take care of yourself.
  • Conduct an after action review.


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