Thursday, August 22, 2013

Atlanta Elementary School Shooting Disaster Averted (Aug 20, 2013)

School Gunmen, Michael Hill Booking, 20
Bottom Line Up Front: This appears to have been a barricaded hostage situation at a school where the mentally deranged gunman was trying to commit "Suicide- By- Cop" by getting police to kill him. It WAS NOT an Active Shooter Situation (Newtown, Va. Tech, etc.) where a gunman comes in and starts shooting everyone. The gunman can be suicidal in either type situation and often are. 

Source of the Weapon: Authorities are looking to locate the owner of the AK-47, who they believe is an acquaintance of Hill's. Davis said officials believe Hill got the weapon from an acquaintance's house, although he wouldn't say whether the weapon was stolen or not. There was a photo of Hill holding a rifle, found on his cell phone. Hill told investigators he was on medication. "He indicated that he was on medication and had stopped taking it."  

Previous Violent Behaviours:   Tim Hill, the brother of Michael Brandon Hill, said his brother previously threatened to shoot him and suffers from mental disorders and "was bipolar and suffered from ADD," and that the two have not spoken recently. 

  • A Henry County sheriff's official said Hill was also charged in March with making terroristic threats for an incident between Dec. 30 and 31 of 2012. He "unlawfully threatened to commit the crime of murder, a crime of violence, for the purpose of terrorizing another."  Tim Hill told the media the charge stemmed from Hill threatening to shoot him. 
  • Michael Hill was issued a no-contact order afterwards. Court records show that Hill pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years' probation and anger counselling.

Present Violent Incident Charges: For this August 20th act of violence, Hill is charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, making terroristic threats and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was questioned for hours by police, but they have no clear idea of what may be a motive or whether Hill has ties to the school. Police chief Alexander said Hill "may have had prior contact" with someone at the school, but the investigation was still pending. No other individuals are expected to be charged.

Recovery Phase Initiated: Buses transported elementary school students from their school to nearby McNair High School on Wednesday to resume classes, a day after a potential massacre was averted. Students were greeted by counsellors and a sign that read, "Welcome McNair Elementary School. Our prayers are with you".  Excerpts taken from Internet article By Elizabeth Chuck, Staff Writer, NBC News

Discussion Points: Being mindful that the incident is new and the investigation is incomplete, here are some things to consider:

  • Hostage Situation vice Active Shooter Situation: The gunman talked instead of just shooting everyone.  He was not (thank God) just trying to kill everyone he saw as fast as he could, or he was convinced otherwise.
  • Typical Suicide By Cop scenario, a mentally deranged individual with violent intent who is suicidal attempts "suicide-by-cop" by creating a situation where police end your life because of the imminent threat you pose. His request to a hostage to call the media & his statement to TV editor about "start filming as cops die".    
  • Response in a Hostage Situation is different than in an Active Shooter Situation. 
    • Hostage situation: if there is no safe escape and you are detained by a gunman, build rapport and empathy with hostage taker so they see you as a person. School Secretary did this and it saved lives. 
    • Active Shooter: A Run - Hide - Fight (similar to ALICE) response is more appropriate if immediate mass shooting occurs. 
  • School Access Control: Having single access point entrance (critical), a locked entrance (good), and a buzzer access control system (good) still requires a trained human being to make a deliberate decision EVERY TIME they buzz anyone in or not. Once a person is buzzed in there needs to be person-to-person (P2P) screening contact as a seemingly innocent person may now (once in the school) demonstrate threatening behaviour (take out a hidden weapon, display aggression, etc.) once inside the school. A nefarious individual may "tailgate" someone buzzed in so be careful. 
    • The P2P screening contact allows the opportunity to alert others (activate 911, announce "lockdown") to trigger an immediate response and possibly mitigate the threat (using your judgement) to regain the initiative against someone planning to do harm. The secretary did this as well by talking to the gunman. 
  • Societal Mechanism to Maintain Visibility of a Threatening Member of a Community. "See Something, Hear Something, Say Something" can help identify a threatening individual and in this instance his brother reported him in March (charges filed, arrest, three years probation  and anger counselling, and medication). However who was tracking this and how could this have been prevented. What is the local areas threat assessment and threat tracking process, if any. How could this mentally deranged individual have been prevented from coming to the school to harm himself or others. This area is the critical vulnerability in preventing mass rampage shooters in our society.

Knowledge is Power and School Preparedness 

is about Preparation, not Paranoia.  

1 comment:

Bob Killackey said...

Here is a link of the School Clerk's ongoing 911 call:

Insert the link:

Worth the viewing.