Local expert explains “Run Hide Fight” response method

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- Local and state police rushing Ohio State’s campus in search of the attacker Monday wouldn’t have always played out the same way.

Director of Medaille College’s Homeland Security Program, Steven MacMartin told News 4 officers used to wait for a tactical team to arrive.

“Columbine is probably a good point to look if you were building a timeline of these things. The shooting at West Virginia is another one you could look at where things probably started to change, and law enforcement felt there was a better way to do this,” he said.

Officers now do whatever they can to neutralize the threat, as soon as possible.

The model for civilians to respond to a threat has also evolved over the years.

The “Run Hide Fight” model used at Ohio State during Monday’s attack is now used around the country, including here in Buffalo.

The “Fight” part of the model was added recently.

MacMartin used a 1970s attack on a fast food restaurant as an example of when running and hiding just aren’t enough. If there isn’t a place to run, or if an attacker finds you, law enforcement realized people needed another option.

“What happens if I’m hiding and that guy comes in? It’s only a natural thought to take the next step and say there’s 20 of us in this room, we’re hiding behind desks, we’re spread out and one person has walked in,” MacMartin told News 4.

“Fight” doesn’t necessarily mean attack or try to take out; it means distract, and use numbers to overpower if necessary.

Ohio State’s attacker,18-year-old Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan, used a knife to slash several people before being shot by an officer.

The response model for a knife attack MacMartin said, is no different than a response to an active shooter.

“The situation was the same. It was somebody with a weapon that was actively trying to hurt people and maim people and what have you, but it wasn’t a gun.”

MacMartin also stressed the term “active shooter” can refer to situations or training involving other weapons, not just guns.

He told News 4 he considers this attack an Act of Terrorism.

Artan posted on social media his anger over how Muslims were being treated by the U.S. Investigators suggest his posts point to someone who is radicalized.

“The police that are doing the investigation, they’re looking at his cell phone, they’re looking at his computer, they’re looking at his acquaintances, and what they’re trying to determine is just that, is he a lone wolf?”

Right now, MacMartin said, it’s too soon to tell.

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