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After Westgate shooting, expert gives advice for fighting active shooter

(Getty Images/George Frey)

PHOENIX — One security expert has challenged the conventional advice to run, hide and fight when in an active shooting situation such as the one that transpired at Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District on Wednesday night.

Robert D. Sollars’ advice is similar, but in a different order.

He believes those in an active shooting situation should fight, run and then hide.

“Heroes are not born; heroes are made in the spur of the moment,” Sollars said.

“Not with necessarily a firearm or anything like that, but they could throw things at the shooter and distract him.”

Sollars’ career includes time spent with Wells Fargo Guard Services and Allied Universal Services, Systems and Solutions

He added that an object such as a chair could hit a shooter’s head and knock him out.

Although such an approach is not without its risks, the security veteran believes such actions could save lives.

“You’re likely to lose one person and have another one get wounded, but the chances that there’s not going to be a lot of other people injured or killed is greater that way,” Sollars said.

He says such an approach mirrors those of the passengers who fought their hijackers aboard a plane during the terror attacks of Sept. 11.

“The passengers on Flight 93 in Shanksville knew that a lot more people would die if they didn’t do something,” Sollars said.

Sollars adds that in an active shooter situation, individuals must watch their surroundings rather than being concerned with posting videos to social media.

He does advise individuals in such a situation to text the police with helpful information if possible.

Following the Wednesday night’s Westgate shooting, a shelter in place order lasted for five hours, which Sollars says was worth every minute.

“The owners of the facility or the businesses, if they lifted that early or decided to violate it, then they could be held responsible if anybody gets hurt by the shooter, or if the police would happen to shoot them because the police haven’t lifted it yet,” Sollars explained.

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