How To Protect Yourself In Violent, Public Attacks - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


How To Protect Yourself In Violent, Public Attacks

The Virginia Tech massacre is the worst shooting in American history, but it is not the first time innocent people have been killed or hurt in places most of us think of as safe.

Just last month, a cafeteria worker at East Texas Medical Center was shot and wounded outside the hospital lobby, allegedly by her husband. On April 7th 2005, an angry parent stormed into the fieldhouse at Canton High School shooting the head football coach in the chest, and just two months earlier, David Arroyo fired dozens of rounds on Tyler's downtown square killing his estranged wife, and another man before being shot and killed by police.

Sheriff J.B. Smith says there are some practical things you can do to protect yourself in these situations.

"Number one, don't try to be a hero under these circumstances. If you wind up being a hero, and it works out that's fine, but if you wind up dead, then you're just another one of the victims. Number two, try to find safety," says Smith.

Judge Cynthia Stevens Kent took cover in her office when she heard the shots outside the courthouse but others, including our photographer, broke a cardinal rule by trying to find out what was going on.

Smith says, "Get away from the gunfire.  Get away from the violence. Don't let your curiosity get you killed by walking over to a window."

The last, and perhaps most obvious thing Smith said was to call 9-1-1. He says stay calm, giving the dispatchers the circumstances and location as quickly as possible. Smith says often, it's those phone calls from the scene that help law enforcement the most.

Sheriff Smith says without a doubt, many on the Virginia Tech campus followed some of these tactics, but it still wasn't enough to save many of them.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting:


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