Expert offers advice on best ways to survive mass shooting

Executive director of Detroit Crime Commission speaks with Local 4 Defenders

DETROIT – A Local 4 security expert said thinking differently might be the key to surviving mass shootings, and that goes well beyond simply having an exit plan.

"There is going to be a hesitation," said Andy Arena, the executive director of the Detroit Crime Commission. "You are not going to believe what you are hearing or seeing. That 10 or 15 seconds can be the difference between life and death."

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Arena spent seven years as the special agent in charge of Detroit's FBI office.

"Besides the mass shootings, we had 30 shot in Chicago, multiple in Detroit," Arena said. "The mass shootings get the press. This is an everyday event."

His tips for surviving a mass shooting include walking into every situation with a plan and knowing escape routes.

"Because of my training, I'm always aware of what's going on around me," Arena said. "Where am I going to go if something bad happens? You've got tables. You've got chairs. Anything you can swing, use it as a weapon. Anything to knock a gun out of hands, disrupt their ability to shoot."

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Arena said people should try to recognize where the gunfire is coming from.

"If it's an elevated gunman, it's going to echo," Arena said. "It's much more difficult to figure out the threat. On the ground, you can learn quickly it's in front of you."

He said greenery doesn't provide much protection, so it would be better to get into a building or run as far away as possible.

"I want something solid between me and the threat," Arena said.

"When you are running, is there a way to run? Should you do the zigzag?" Local 4 Defender Karen Drew asked.

"I'm going to get away as fast as possible," Arena said.

He stressed being aware that there could be other gunmen.

"You can't run blindly," Arena said. "You have to make sure there isn't another threat coming from that direction."

Safety was on the minds of Metro Detroit residents Monday after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. They said they're trying to have a new mindset.

"Anywhere I am in public, I'm looking around, trying to be more alert, looking for escape routes," Detroit resident Katrina Lipomb said.

"I keep my guard up," Detroit resident Asia Littleton said. "I make sure I'm aware of my surroundings."

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