Former Folsom police officer: Las Vegas shooting 'unique' for law enforcement response

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is not only the deadliest in U.S. history but it's the largest mass shooting to play out on social media.

The mass shooting in Las Vegas is not only the deadliest in U.S. history but it’s the largest mass shooting to play out on social media.

Most of the videos and images show victims and survivors running away from gun fire, but what is hard to see is the brave officers running towards the gunman.

Hector Alvarez is a former Folsom police officer who now provides training on mass shootings and work place violence situations. He says a lot of their bravery has to do with the way law enforcement is trained.

"There is a lot of dynamics,” he said. “No police officer or firefighter wants something like this to happen, but if it does, we want to be there to stop it. The goal is in these situations is to find out where the violence is happening and go stop it.”

SWAT teams were able to reach the gunman in the Mandalay Bay Casino within minutes after the gun fire ended. Alvarez says this was an impressive task because the gunman was located more than 1,000 feet from the concert venue.

“The incident in Vegas is unique,” he said. “It’s a cautionary tale that us professionals talk about. It’s very hard to have a plan.”

The Las Vegas shooting reminds Alvarez of the 1966 Clock Tower shooting at the University of Texas, Austin. A lone gunman killed 15 and injured 31.

“A bad person from an elevated position shoots down on people,” Alvarez said. “They are basically in a box in and cannot go anywhere or tell where the shots are coming from. This is literally the worst-case scenario,” Alvarez said.

Mass shootings can make people fearful of public gathering but Alvarez believes people can fight fear by being prepared. One way to do that is to be aware of your surroundings and plan an escape route where ever you are. 

"I don't think the take away is to be more fearful. The take away is that we need to be less in denial. We need to be ready and prepared to take advantage of the opportunity before these things occur,” said Alvarez.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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