Shooting scare at Naval Medical Center

Elisabeth Smith | The USD Vista | Assistant News Editor

At 8 a.m. on Jan. 26 the San Diego Naval Medical Center reported gunshots fired throughout building 26. According to officials, the facility remained under shelter in place orders until 1:45 p.m. when it appeared that the reports were a false alarm.

According to the Navy Times, no signs of gunfire were found in building 26 or anywhere else around the Naval Medical Center. Reports were inconclusive about where the alleged gunshot sounds originated.

The Navy Medical Center went on lockdown during a shooting scare.

The Navy Medical Center went on lockdown during a shooting scare.

Despite the fact that it was a false alarm, word of the reported gunfire reached the University of San Diego quickly via social media and news reports. The official Naval Medical Center Facebook page posted at 8:07 a.m. advising the community to run, hide, or fight if they came in contact with an active gunman.

While the University of San Diego  campus was not in immediate danger Tuesday morning, the incident raised concerns regarding the potential threat to campus.

To address those concerns, Chief Larry Barnett explained the proper procedure in the event of an active shooter situation.

“There are many aspects to preparing a campus to respond to an active shooter incident,” Barnett said. “One of the most important aspects related to this issue, is how a campus prepares to prevent such threats of violence from occurring.”

Barnett expressed that USD can help prevent these threats through the developed network of support.

“An important consideration is creating a culture of care across the campus that allows for identifying individuals who may need assistance before an incident occurs,” Barnett said. “USD has a very proactive system of engaging various support services and other resources across our campus in order to assist community members in receiving the assistance they may need and preventing situations from escalating into violence.”

The university emergency procedures echo the advice that the Naval Medical Center shared; individuals in an active shooter situation are advised to hide, run, or fight if they feel they can take down the shooter.

Aside from reading about emergency procedures on the USD Public Safety website, students and faculty can also attend one of the many active shooter trainings hosted by the Public Safety department throughout the semester.

“The recent incident at the San Diego Naval Medical Center should remind our USD campus community of the importance of becoming familiar with USD’s Active Shooter safety procedures,” Barnett said. “All USD Public Safety Officers train regularly with local law enforcement officers in how to respond to Active Shooter incidents. Public Safety continues to provide weekly Active Shooter safety training classes to our campus community.”

The training sessions will take place at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice (KIPJ), Room 220, beginning on Feb. 2 and every following Tuesday through March from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Since Nov. 3, 2015, Public Safety has conducted 26 Active Shooter safety classes to 570 members of the campus community, according to Barnett.

“In addition to encouraging all community members to attend one of the Public Safety Active Shooter safety classes, all campus community members are strongly encouraged to review each of the various online campus emergency procedures which include Active Shooter safety procedures,” Barnett said.

The Active Shooter safety procedures can be accessed on the Public Safety website. They include lists of appropriate actions and an informational video which are available to all USD students and staff.

In addition to the individual Active Shooter safety training activities, on Dec. 16, 2015, as part of USD’s overall emergency preparedness activities, 95 members of USD’s Emergency Management team participated in a simulated campus response to an Active Shooter incident.

This gun scare followed a year of 330 mass shooting incidents across the United States. A mass shooting is defined as an incident in which four or more were injured or killed according to the Mass Shooting Tracker.

President Obama issued what he referred to as a commonsense executive order regarding gun violence in America on Jan. 5.

The executive order included plans to  keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks, to make communities safer, to increase mental health treatment, and to develope gun safety technology.

In his remaining months as president, Obama hopes to drastically reduce the gun-related violence in America. But with 12 mass shootings already in the first month of the new year, drastic changes are needed for Obama to accomplish his goal.

As for now, the USD community can gain peace of mind by attending an active shooter training or reviewing the emergency procedures.