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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: 159036

Reported Deaths: 3879
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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