Late Tuesday night there was a shooting at the Bell Tower Shops in south Fort Myers. The open-air shopping center is a popular attraction in the area. We've talked before on what to do when there is a shooting incident at workplaces and schools but what about public locations?
Do you know what to do if you are at a public park, at a restaurant or a mall and there is an active shooter?
You never really expect to be near a shooting but once you hear those gunshots you cannot freeze and think fast.
That's exactly what employees at Cru restaurant at Bell Tower Shops did once they heard gunfire that Wednesday night.
The owner of Cru, Bob Boye, was not at the restaurant when the shooting started but his team had a plan set in place to get their customers to safety.
"I said OK lock the doors, you know the procedures get all the patrons inside from the outside bar," said Boye, "lock the doors and get everything inside until I get there."
This procedure was put in place after the restaurant team took an active shooter training class about a year and a half ago.
"It’s about being prepared and staying alert and ready and just knowing the right things to do at all times, and that was the most refreshing thing that came out of all of this if there is a silver lining of course there is a tremendous loss," Boye said.
Aaron Forum from Shoot Center in Cape Coral is a training specialist and teaches active shooter intervention. Forum served for 10 years as a member of America’s elite U.S. Army Special Forces and now he is using his skills to prepare others in case they find themselves in an active shooter situation.
Forum said that the Cru restaurant team did exactly what they were supposed to do in an active shooter situation, "they took precautions based on the worst-case scenario."
One of the things Forum teaches in his active shooter intervention classes is to not investigate the shooting yourself.
Running away could be your best bet in protecting yourself and others, "running from the situation could also be a viable option treating the situation like a fire drill and running away from gunfire towards an exit where there is no gun fire."
At the end of the day protecting yourself is what matters, "I’m grateful we had the opportunity to take a class like that," Boye said," however I hate that we had to use those actions... that’s very unfortunate."