This one came very close to home – and not entirely figuratively.
Earlier this afternoon, an apparent lone gunman gained access to the building at 1536 Wynkoop in Downtown Denver and began shooting. Right now, I don’t have his name (nor would I publish it here, if I did),
nor a motive or what type of weapon he used. What drives this to me is another factor: his location.
See, my company’s Colorado office is at 1515 Wynkoop. Yup – quite literally just across the street from this incident.
I work with the Security team at my company, which also includes a physical security element, not just cyber security. As a result, I was immediately copied in on the conversation over an instant messenger platform. Our Denver office went on lockdown (we are not the only tenants in the building, by far). And at that time, we only heard of an MWAG call.
So What Happened, Ryan?
I’m glad you asked.
So the lone gunman seemed to have the victim in mind when this started. We don’t know for sure, since he’s now dead. Police are still investigating the motive and connection between the shooter and victim.
The unidentified woman was shot several times, and was rushed to nearby Denver Health, where she remains in critical condition.
[UPDATE 6/29/2016 @ 11:10am: The woman was pronounced dead early on Wednesday morning. People are assholes. It also sounds like the victim and the shooter were married, and the victim filed for divorce this past April, and the killer was served a few days later. No active restraining orders were found by law enforcement at this time. Also, police confirmed the weapon was a handgun, but did not have specifics.]
The shooter was found dead by the Police, who (by most accounts) responded very quickly and began clearing out the 1536 building. In several videos, you can see many people rushing out in single file, hands above their heads. Though SWAT was deployed on at least one rooftop, there were no reports of Denver Police firing their weapons that I have found.
Denver Police also confirmed the FBI, ATF, Federal Protection Service, and nearby local law enforcement agencies were also present and involved.
So What’s at 1536, Ryan?
So the attack happened strictly on the 2nd floor, but the building is “known in political circles as a hub for environmental and social-justice organizations“. Again, it’s unknown at this time if that’s even a factor in the motive of this bastard killer.
What To Do?
So, there’s not much advice I can give you here. Have a plan on what you would do in the event of an active killing scene. In the building in which I work (currently not the one reference above), there are seven doors to get in to the building, five of which can get an entrant into the upper floors. At that point, there’s only two staircases that can get to the 2nd and 3rd floors. So I know the bottlenecks – this is important for both egress and ingress purposes.
Once you got the points of ingress laid out, know the routes from any single point to each egress point – without going near the other one! It does no good to go to staircase #2 if it brings you right by staircase #1 and the killer!
If you cannot escape without encountering the killer, hide from him/her. This may actually involve moving from time to time. Simply huddling in ball in the bathroom is generally a poor idea; you don’t want to be in a place where the only way out is through the killer.
And you can choose to fight. Using a chair, or a keyboard, or a freakin’ trash can! If you’re lucky enough to be in an area where you’re allowed to be armed, get a pistol, get some training, and your concealed carry permit (and training is much more than simply being able to hit a bull’s-eye).
And no, there’s no requirement to follow these in a specific order. If your situation dictates you should jump to the Fight phase, then grab something to throw, or draw your pistol, or whatever. Hell, even just rushing the killer might be the right move!
The simple point is this: there’s no “one” way to respond. Some law enforcement might have you believe that you have to run first, THEN hide, THEN fight. This simply isn’t true, nor smart. Yes, these are your three base options, but you don’t have to try them in order.