Vegas shooter's high-rise attack prompts police training discussion

KING 5's Eric Wilkinson reports.

The Las Vegas massacre could be a "game changer" for all of us.

The high-rise hotel shooter took mass murder to a new level – one that is problematic for police.

"This really can happen, anywhere. You can't control it," said Chief Deputy Chad Clark.

Clark knows mass shootings all too well. He commands the SWAT team for the Skagit County Sheriff's Office – the same one that responded to a gunman on a killing spree at Burlington's Cascade Mall last year.

But Las Vegas was like nothing Clark has ever seen.

"It's totally different from having someone walk into a crowd and start shooting at ground level," he said.

Police typically train for a shooter in a school, mall or church. They are locations where both the shooter and police are pretty much on a level playing field with one, maybe two floors – not 32, as was the case at Mandalay Bay.

"In a case like this, the guy is on the 32nd floor. You have no idea where it's coming from and people are just falling around you," said Clark. "There's no opportunity for anyone to engage him."

Las Vegas awakens the ghosts of the 1966 Texas Clock Tower killings, where a former Marine sharpshooter rained fire from above killing 15 people.

We've seen nothing like it since.
  
Until now.
  
Police will certainly learn from the Vegas incident and adjust their trainings accordingly.

Until then though, it's up to us to train ourselves and prepare for the worst at big public gatherings.

"If this happens to me, what am I gonna do? Well, you have to know where the exits are. You have to know where the escape routes are and try to get out of there. So, that's going to be a lot of the public's education on their own," said Clark.

Experts say when attending those big events make a mental note of the nearest exits. Think through an escape route in your mind and discuss it with your family. Also, identify places to hide or take shelter if necessary. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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