JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Byram Police Chief Luke Thompson walks through the shopping center parking lot with purpose.
“It’s about to be lunchtime,” he says. “You could have someone rob a store, you could have a domestic situation that occurs in the parking lot, you could have a minor parking lot fender bender that would result in some outrageous reaction and a gun is involved.”
It sounds like Thompson is a little alarmist, but active shooter and mass shooting situations have happened more than a few times in Mississippi when people were least expecting it. At Pearl High School in 1997, Lockheed Martin in 2003, Delta State in 2015, Brookhaven in 2017, Hazlehurst in 2017 -- just to name a few -- the people who were victimized were simply following their every day routine.
Which all of us do every day.
“Anything at this moment right now could happen in this parking lot,” Thompson said. “And a lot of people, unfortunately, aren’t prepared. They’re just going about their day.”
He makes the point that your life can be in danger anywhere. Active shooters have hit festivals, work places, concerts, schools, malls, and that’s just the beginning.
Authorities say there are four general ways to cope when you’re dealing with an active shooter:
Run. Get as much distance between yourself and the shooter as possible.
Look for cover. Get behind something that will not allow the bullets to pass through.
If you can’t run and you can’t find cover, look for concealment. Just hide.
In a worst case scenario, you may have to fight the active shooter.
“In that case, anything within your grasp becomes a weapon. Whether it’s an ink pen or a set of keys or a cellphone,” Thompson said. “Anything that you have in your hands to attack someone that is trying to kill you, and that’s ultimately what it is, survival.”
The Mississippi Office of Homeland Security offers various training curriculum for law enforcement and civilians.