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Witnesses describe panic inside bar shooting

A gunman burst into a bar in Southern California packed with college students, killing at least 12 so far and injuring multiple others.

Posted: Nov 9, 2018 2:08 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2018 2:08 PM

Four soft targets in two weeks: a grocery store in Kentucky, a synagogue in Pittsburgh, a yoga studio in Florida and now a college bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

Any ruthless attack on people is shocking, but attacks on soft targets are particularly disturbing. Soft targets represent simple, daily life. People come and go. They expect to be safe as they pick up a cup of coffee, deposit their paychecks, fill prescriptions or grab a bite to eat. Their guards are down.

The death toll in the four recent incidents has been stunning, with 27 people slain:

• Two shoppers gunned down October 24 in the parking lot and inside a Kroger in Jefferson, Kentucky.

• Eleven people attending Shabbat services killed October 27 when an armed man walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue. Six people were wounded, including four responding police officers.

• Two women, a physician and a college senior, shot to death November 2 inside a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida. The gunman wounded four other people.

• And on Wednesday, 12 people killed and more than a dozen injured when a masked man opened fire inside a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.

These places typically are safe, and they're supposed to be accessible. The ease of ingress and egress is key to their success, in some cases.

Too often, bad people know this.

The US State Department recently addressed these types of attacks on its blog, DipNote.

Witness: The gunman came out of nowhere

"Attacks on public spaces -- locations where civilians work, dine, shop, and vacation -- are tragic for the innocent lives lost as well as the violent assault on a country's daily way of life," the September post said.

While the blog post addressed terrorism (authorities have not classified any of the latest four attacks as terrorism yet) the strategy for protecting a soft target is complex, no matter who is targeting it.

"Restaurants, stadiums, and entertainment venues are designed to be open and accessible, leaving them vulnerable," according to the blog post. "The types of places attacked vary, as do the types of attacks, which generally involve some combination of suicide bombers, gunmen, hostages, or low-tech tactics that turn knives or vehicles into murderous weapons."

America has faced the threat so many times -- at a theater in Aurora, California, at a concert in Las Vegas, at the Boston Marathon. Every school shooting is an attack on a soft target.

"It's not like trying to get into a government building or trying to get onto a plane. We've hardened those targets," CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano said.

Sheriff's sergeant killed at bar was set to retire

A former FBI agent, Gagliano said he knows that there are some people out there who will demand security anywhere people gather to revel or conduct routine business. While he's not sold on the argument, he sees the merit in the debate, he said.

"Even if you had an armed guard, there ... action is faster than reaction. That armed guard, in all likelihood, would've been the first casualty," he said. "Now, the counterargument is, yes, but that's a deterrent. I think we have to weigh that and look at it."

Law enforcement experts say there are ways to make oneself less of a target. There are active shooter trainings all over the country that instruct people to avoid, deny and defend.

The training is about knowing where the exits are and planning an escape before anything goes awry. In the event of a shooting, people should barricade doors, turn off lights, silence phones and hide, preferably behind something bulletproof. If all else fails, fight like hell, experts say.

But that speaks only to what happens after the attack is underway. Prevention would be preferable, which is why the US Department of Homeland Security earlier this year published a guide to securing soft targets and crowded places.

It calls on everyone -- business owners, first responders, government agencies and the general public -- to do what they can to protect their own patch.

There are resources to help understand what constitutes suspicious behavior and what behaviors might indicate a pathway to violence, as well as instructions on how businesses and houses of worship can identify threats and secure their venues. There are also resources for conducting proper bag checks at large venues, as well as ways businesses can stop the sales of precursor chemicals for explosives.

"Given the increased emphasis by terrorists and other extremist actors to leverage less sophisticated methods to inflict harm in public areas, it is vital that the public and private sectors collaborate to enhance security of locations such as transportation centers, parks, restaurants, shopping centers, special event venues, and similar facilities," DHS says.

"Securing these locations and venues is essential to preserving our way of life and sustaining the engine of our economy."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295295

Reported Deaths: 6724
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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