Active shooter in the workplace - Grand Blanc Michigan

Everyone always tells me I am crazy for always exercising situational awareness, for sitting in the back row of theaters, for asking to have a corner seat when I go out to eat so I can watch the exits, for owning firearms, for owning personal armor.

My friend "S" works at the Grand Oak Apartments in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Tuesday she is sitting at work, a disgruntled individual walked into her leasing office and began firing shots. At the time of writing this post one of her employees is dead and another, 8 months pregnant, is in critical condition. By some freak chance, my friend was not shot. The active shooter never looked into my friend's office. 

Around 3:30pm an active shooter began opening fire. Tamara Johnson, 45, suffered fatal wounds and was pronounced dead at the hospital. 20 year old, 8-month pregnant, Lyric Work is currently on life-support however her baby was successfully delivered and is healthy and well. Sadly Lyric has shown no signs of brain activity and is almost certain to become an organ donor, if she hasn't already at the time of writing this.

You ask: Ryan, why are you telling us about this, what can we do about it? While in this situation there likely wasn't a lot that could be done, it was completely unexpected. I've never been up to Michigan to visit her since she moved there so I have no idea how the office is laid out. For all I know the leasing agents were sitting in an entry room and didn't have a chance to react. However, most places of employment are large enough and spread out enough that you could have a chance to react. I would like to recommend a few things that could increase your chances of surviving a workplace/business shooting

  • Always be aware of where exits are

  • Do not hesitate, you will likely be shocked but you have to move. Move move move.

  • Pay attention to the behavior and demeanor of individuals, whether they are friends or strangers. If something feels off stay calm, collect your thoughts and give the individual your attention. If they do not pose an immediate threat ask if everything is ok, ask if you can help them.

  • At your place of employment communicate with management that a plan should be devised for an emergency evacuation that is NOT a fire, drill. 

  • If an active shooting is occurring and you do not feel you can safely get to an exit, barricade yourself in an office/storage closet/etc. Get as much material between you and the door as you can, get yourself behind as much solid material as you can and fold your body up as if you were in the hall in grade school doing a tornado drill. If you remembered to grab your phone call emergency services, remain as calm as you can and share everything you know about the situation including your location.

These things won't always help and statistically, you'll never be in a situation where it is needed but shootings happen. One just happened in S's office and she's someone I've known for roughly 2/3 of my life. You can bet she didn't go to work Tuesday thinking "hey I might get shot at today!" 

There are other things you can do. Where legal, and where allowed by your employer, you can have the possibility of: concealed carry, less than lethal options like pepper spray, body armor (not practical in an office, practical for some professions though - repo agents, tow truck drivers, roadside assistance persons etc) and even things like backpacks with level IIIA inserts from companies like AR500 Armor that I personally own products from.

The above image is a backpack that for an extra 55$ (at time of writing) comes with a 9.5” x 13” plate that weighs roughly 10lbs which has a Level III rating (designed to defeat rifle threats up to 7.62x51 M80 NATO Ball (.308 Winchester) at velocities up to 2,780 feet per second and all pistol calibers). You could use this as a normal backpack for 134$ before shipping (at time of writing) that in the event of a shooting where you are you can pick up your backpack and run giving you some vital organ coverage. In the event you have to barricade yourself into a room you would scrunch up to create the smallest profile you could and put the backpack between you and the sound. I don't know about you but 134$ for a little peace of mind is well worth it. 

Disclaimer. Check local laws, employer policies etc before carrying any sort of body armor, any type of weapon etc. Be familiar with local self defense laws and receive proper training in any weapon or device you purchase and use. I am in no way responsible for any action you take and the consequences that result because of said action(s).