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Las Vegas massacre presents major new security concern for police fighting mass shootings

Former FBI boss in Detroit talks difficulties of fighting shooter in high-rise

DETROIT – The mass shooting that killed at least 59 people and injured more than 500 others in Las Vegas has opened a whole new security concern across the United States, especially in cities with high rises surrounding public parks.

It's a new, disturbing reality for law enforcement officers that has experts are rethinking how to respond to active shooters.

Retired Detroit FBI director Andy Arena walked with Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz through Campus Martius, an open space surrounded by tall buildings. It's a good representation of how vulnerable people at the Jason Aldean concert in Vegas must have felt when Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

"Where do you set security up here?" Arena asked. "How do you police all these tall buildings, all the streets coming together? It is a nightmare for law enforcement."

The Vegas scenario of a gunman shooting down on victims from a high-rise puts police in a very difficult situation.

"You're going to have to deal with mass casualties, but you don't want more casualties, and you're going to be looking around, trying to figure out where the threat is," Arena said.

It could take several minutes for someone to find and take out an active shooter from a high-rise. In the past, residents were taught to run, hide and fight in an active shooter situation. In Las Vegas, that didn't work.

"You can look around at all these buildings and high-rises, and he's shooting down," Arena said. "We teach people, when confronted: Run, hide, fight. Where do you run? How do you hide? How do you fight the guys on the 32nd floor?"

Arena said law enforcement agencies have to rethink everything, especially using better technology. Both Campus Martius in Detroit and the shooting scene in Las Vegas have cameras everywhere. But is anyone watching them?

"It's great to go back after the fact and look at the tape, but what are you doing with it at the time?" Arena asked.

Arena said anyone who sees something needs to say something, telling a family member, co-worker or even a complete stranger if they have a bad feeling about a situation. He said it has to be the rule, not the exception.

"In hindsight, we're going to see his roommate, his friend, someone saw something," Arena said. Someone saw something out of the ordinary coming into that hotel."

The Vegas shooting proves that even when police do a good job, the casualties can be very high. It's clear that more must be done to prevent such an incident.