More than a decade after a shooter killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, experts said these events are still happening at an alarming rate.
Fresno law enforcement want people to be aware it’s a very real threat that has happened here and will happen again.
Capt. Greg Gularte with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said a shooter’s goal is getting the highest body count possible, but how a person reacts in an active shooter situation can save their life.
“You heard the ‘pop pop pop pop’ and then you heard the ‘ping ping’ because he was hitting where the bleachers were and then I just remember thinking he knows where we’re at. We’re going to die,” Claudia Gonzalez a survivor of the Las Vegas shooting said Tuesday.
Nearly 60 people were killed in the massacre October 1, 2017. That night, Gonzalez sent her sister what she thought would be her final text.
“Please tell mom and my girls ‘I love you guys but we’re not going to make it,'” she said.
“We used to train with ‘what if?’ Now it’s ‘when,’ when this happens, what will we do?,” Gularte said.
Gularte is an expert on active shooter scenarios, teaching classes to businesses, schools and organizations. he said the average mass shooting takes less than nine minutes, and those first seconds can save your life.
“Run, hide, fight. Run to a place of safety, hide and barricade if you have to or you can, and at the last resort fight. Fight for your life,” he said.
Gonzalez knew what she had to do even when her husband went back to help others.
“I was like ‘I love you with all my heart, but they’re going to kill you and I cannot stay here. I cannot get killed, because I have two little girls. I can’t leave them alone.’ I was like run, my thought was run,” she said.
Gonzalez’ husband helped others escape and also made it out safely himself.
Gularte said if it’s possible help others, but getting yourself out and calling for help should be number one. He also stressed planning ahead.
“Providing some plans so that you have a framework in your head of how you’ll respond when this happens will make you successful and will have a successful outcome during an active killer event,” he said.
Gonzalez now runs through scenarios with her daughters and said she has a heightened sense of awareness of her surroundings, looking for exits and studying people around her. Both she and law enforcement stress the importance of reporting suspicious behavior.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office offers a free active shooter training class to businesses, schools and other organizations. More information can be found below: