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: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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