ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — What do you do when you’re trying to serve the afternoon lunch rush and suddenly an active shooter enters your restaurant?
Run, hide and fight, said Rob DeBuck, a retired captain for the Albuquerque Police Department and current school resource officer.
“Right now, there’s an active shooter incident every three weeks in this country,” DeBuck said. “The question you have to ask yourself is: Do you want to be sheep, or do you want to be wolves?”
DeBuck made the comments Thursday at an active shooter training seminar for members of the foodservice industry, which he led with the help of APD officer Andy LeHockey. The seminar, which attracted about 20 people, was hosted by the New Mexico Restaurant Association and Kitchen Cabinet, a restaurant industry advocacy organization.
DeBuck emphasized that individuals have the right to defend themselves in an active shooter situation, though many people’s response is not to do so.
“Playing dead is not a good idea,” he said.
DeBuck said active shooters will continue to move through a building or area until stopped by law enforcement, suicide or another intervention. The average law enforcement response time to an active shooter situation is between three and five minutes, according to DeBuck, but it’s still essential to take action as quickly as possible.
DeBuck said the first thing to do is to run, and tell those around you to do the same. Move as much and as quickly as possible, because a moving target is harder to hit. Try to always have an escape route in mind wherever you are, DeBuck said.
“It’s not being paranoid, it’s just being smart,” he said.
If you can’t run to safety, hide. If the hiding place is in a room with a door, try to lock or barricade the door. Turn off your cell phone.
Finally, if your life is in imminent danger, fight. Swarm the shooter, and try to knock the gun to the floor.
Once police arrive, raise your hands and spread your fingers. Don’t have anything in your hands that could be seen as a weapon, DeBuck said.
“Police are trained to look at hands when entering (an active shooter) environment,” said DeBuck.
DeBuck also suggested employers provide regular training so employees can be prepared for an active shooting situation. He said not much can be done to train customers, but employers can at least make sure their employees are prepared.
Malinda Peine, a family and consumer science teacher at Bloomfield High School, said she will take what she learned from the seminar to make sure her students are safe.
“It’s hard not to think about these things these days,” she said.