In November 2022, a 22-year-old shooter entered an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Colorado Springs, CO, killing five people and injuring twenty-five others. Ironically, the club was described as a “second home, full of the chosen family” and a “safe place for people to be who they are.”

Police later found that the suspect, Anderson Aldrich, had posted hateful commentary on a personal website and a video that Colorado police detective Rebecca Joines called “a neo-Nazi mass shooter training video.”

In this shooting, Aldrich could have killed and injured many more. However, two people were able to confront the gunman and stop the massacre in progress.

The Dance Hall Shootings 

For decades, the conventional wisdom coming from organizations like the FBI has been that in situations like this, we should “Run” from the scene, “Hide” wherever possible, and “Fight” and confront the shooter if absolutely necessary.

However, what is happening today is that Run and Hide may not always work. And while confronting the gunman – the Fight tactic of the Run-Hide-Fight  instruction – appears to be one of the best options for saving lives and minimizing injuries, it can also be the most dangerous.

To explain, let’s take a look at two other mass shooting events – the recent shootings in dance halls in Southern California. In chronological order, here’s what happened:

  1. On Saturday, January 21, 2023, at about 10:20 pm, shots were fired into a dance studio in Monterey Park, CA. A man was shooting people inside the dance hall using a semi-automatic weapon. 
  2. Police responded within three minutes of receiving the first 911 call. 
  3. Upon their arrival at the scene, they saw chaos and what Monterrey Park Police Chief Scott Wiese described as “extensive carnage.” 
  4. Wiese said he saw wounded people and people trying to flee. These people were trying to run from the shooter, only to discover few ways to exit the dance hall. 
  5. A surveillance video shows the shooter entering one of the dance hall restrooms, shooting at people as they tried to hide under sinks and behind toilets. 
  6. About 15 minutes later, the gunman shows up at another dance hall, this time in Alhambra, CA, a few miles away. 
  7. However, this situation was different. Brandon Tsay heard “the sound of metal.” Tsay told Good Morning America, “When I got the courage, I lunged at him (the shooter) with both hands, grabbed the weapon, and we struggled.” 
  8. Two others from the dance hall joined in the struggle and were able to wrestle the gun away from the shooter.

The Fight tactic – confronting the gunman – proved to have saved lives. “Things could have been much worse,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna.

So, is the Fight Tactic the Best Option?

TAL Global is wondering and asking if we need another way to respond to mass shootings. Again, let’s explain:

There are now many examples of someone trying to Fight and stop a shooter only to be killed in the process. Examples include:

  • Riley Howell was killed during a shooting at the University of North Carolina in May 2019 as he charged the shooter. He fought back when a gunman began shooting people in a classroom. While he became a hero for his actions, he paid with his life. 
  • Kendrick Castillo was killed in a Colorado high school in May 2018 while lunging at a shooter to save his classmates.

In other words, what we find today is that Run and Hide have serious limitations and Fight often ends up with the good Samaritan killed.

To answer our question, does Run, Hide, Fight still work, the answer is that it can, but it is quickly becoming outdated.

However, producing alternatives is proving difficult. One problem is that no two mass shootings are the same. Another is that about half of all mass shooting events end before the police get to the scene e.g., the dance hall massacre mentioned earlier.

TAL Global is now looking for ways that will empower people to protect themselves and others. In the world we live in today, waiting for the police to arrive is waiting too long. 

Stay tuned. We will announce our progress on SDaaS soon. 


run hide fight

Oscar Villanueva is a Professional Certified Investigator, private investigator, and the Chief Operating Officer for TAL Global, an International Security Consulting and Risk Management.  He can be reached here.

© TAL Global, 2019