For some reason, this bit about the shooting at Arapahoe did not make the evening news.
The FBI formed a team to study active shootings after the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Among other initiatives, the agency has adopted an active-shooter training, which was developed at Texas State University after the 1999 Columbine High School killings in Colorado. The program’s core course prepares first responders to isolate, distract and stop active shooters as fast as possible.
According to the new study, patrol officers, who are usually the first on the scene, had to use force to stop the gunman in nearly a third of the attacks.
The new approach proved vital on Dec. 13, 2013, when a heavily armed student carrying a shotgun, machete and three Molotov cocktails stormed into Arapahoe High School in suburban Denver. Police said the gunman, who was looking to harm his debate coach, shot a fellow student but then committed suicide when he realized a deputy assigned to the school and a security guard were closing in.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the suspect stopped firing on others and turned his weapon on himself 80 seconds after entering the school.
“We believe that the response from the school resource officer [who was armed] and from the unarmed school security officer was absolutely critical to the fact we did not have additional injury and or death,” Robinson told reporters.
In other words, an armed guard at the school stopped massive casualties. What a crazy idea, huh?
CNN had some more details on the “school resource officer,” who was a deputy sheriff.
The rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer at the school, Robinson said.
Once he learned of the threat, he ran — accompanied by an unarmed school security officer and two administrators — from the cafeteria to the library, Robinson said. “It’s a fairly long hallway, but the deputy sheriff got there very quickly.”
The deputy was yelling for people to get down and identified himself as a county deputy sheriff, Robinson said. “We know for a fact that the shooter knew that the deputy was in the immediate area and, while the deputy was containing the shooter, the shooter took his own life.”
He praised the deputy’s response as “a critical element to the shooter’s decision” to kill himself, and lauded his response to hearing gunshots. “He went to the thunder,” he said. “He heard the noise of gunshot and, when many would run away from it, he ran toward it to make other people safe.”
It’s remarkable that neither CNN nor Yahoo wrote the Deputy Sheriff was armed. They stress that the other person was “unarmed.” Why would they write this unless the Deputy was armed. This aspect of the story did not fit the template.
The right-wing Washington Times has no problem with this angle.
By the way, this headline from Yahoo, “Spike in mass shootings creates demand for different police approach” is inaccurate, though the body of the article is. A mass shooting is defined by 4 or more deaths in a single event. This study focuses on “Active Shooter” situations, defined as “where the primary motive appeared to be mass murder and at least one of the victims was unrelated to the suspect.” These are very, very different things. Dutifully, Think Progress blared the headline, “Mass Shootings are Becoming More Frequent.” Mass shootings, as defined by four or more deaths, are not on the rise, and have remained fairly constant for the last several decades. I will have more on this soon when I post my new article, The Shooting Cycle.
Relatedly, a study by USA Today considers “mass killings,” as opposed to “mass shootings,” that consider death of four or more people by any means, including stabbing, suffocation, strangulation, etc. It is an interesting study.
Anyway, more on this soon.