Campus News

Forum to focus on handling active campus shooters

As part of National Preparedness Month, a forum about active shooters will be held Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Tate Student Center’s Reception Hall.

“Active Shooters: School Shootings to Terrorism” features talks from former Green Beret Scott Watson of the firearms training and security consulting company Jedburgh Corp., who has done extensive analysis of the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, and Jeff Wigington, the sheriff of Rockdale County who responded to a 1999 shooting at Heritage High School.

The two will talk about measures used to detain active shooters, what individuals and groups can do if one is spotted on campus or in the community.

“What we saw in Mumbai, India, was a departure from the normal tactics used by terrorists and active shooters,” Watson said. “Normally when the police show up in an active shooter scenario, it ends. When you think about the Virginia Tech campus shooter, he only fired one shot after the police arrived, and that was at himself. In India, the terrorists stayed put and continued to fight. So now police need to be prepared to respond to both kinds of scenarios.”

But preparing first-responders is only part of the solution for dealing with an active gunman. Ordinary citizens or bystanders can do a lot to protect themselves and help the police.

All of which can be of use to the campus community. While you would never want an active shooter on campus, knowing how to handle the situation can mean the difference between life and death, said John Newton, event organizer and emergency operations coordinator in the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness.

“Through this forum, we hope to continue our efforts to prepare UGA in case a terrible incident like this occurs in our community,” he said.