What to do if you find yourself in an active shooter situation

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - When shots rang out in the Waffle House outside Nashville, Tenn., James Shaw Jr. said he was looking for an opportunity to stop the shooter, and he got it.

"It seemed like he was either restocking or the gun jammed or something like that. That was in my mind, my one and only opportunity to go for it," said Shaw.

Shaw charged at the suspect and knocked the shooter's rifle out of his hand.

Nationally recognized security expert John Graden says what James Shaw did is exactly what someone should do while the shooter is reloading their gun or the gun jams.

"The gun jammed. The hero saw the opportunity, and jumped on the shooter," said Graden, who promotes the C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense System, or the Combat Objective Battle Ready Applications.

To begin , Graden says, the first thing you should do though in order to survive an active shooter situation is to know where you could escape to, at all times.

"Always be aware of your exits. Train your children to be aware of their exits. If you are in a restaurant, ask your children, 'Where would you escape to if somebody came in shooting right now?"' said Graden.

Graden says as soon as you are able to run for an exit make your body as small a target as possible.

"As you are escaping, you want to be as evasive as possible. When I am running, I am going to run in a crouched position to make my body smaller. I'm going to keep my elbows in close to my vital organs as a shield," added Graden.

Use anything you can find around you to help shield your vital organs from the shooter's bullets.

"I'm going to get some improvised ballistic protection by pulling in books, laptops - anything I can cover my vital organs with as I run in a zig-zag manner," described Graden.

If there are children involved: "I'm going to hook my arms with that child, put myself in between the shooter and the child, and continue to be evasive as we escape," said Graden.

To recap:

  • Experts say always be aware of your exits
  • Run for the exit as soon as you can, making your body as small a target as possible
  • Use anything you can as a shield to cover your vital organs
  • When the shooter reloads, or if the gun jams, try to knock the gun out of his or her hand
  • If you have a child with you, hook arms with the child, and put yourself between the shooter and the child

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