Active shooting in a bar poses extra challenges, police say

Challenges protecting clubs and bars

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Once again America is coping with a deadly active shooting - this time it was in a bar in California.

Police say a shooting inside a bar poses different challenges.

“Anytime you have an active threat or an active shooter in any building it’s a challenge because you don’t know the layout of the building. You don’t know how many rooms there are,” said Capt Jim Wilson. “Especially if it’s a night club or bar they’re generally dark, there’s restrooms, you don’t know the layout, it’s crowded. You don’t know who is who so it presents a lot of challenges.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have been providing active shooting training for places of worship, schools, and businesses.

Some bars and clubs have had the training.

“I just felt like we needed to educate our staff if something that like should happen – God forbid it never happens – but if something like that happens in the Carolinas at one of my venues that they would be prepared,” said Peter Thomas.

Thomas, who owns Sports One and Club One, says for him – prevention is key.

“What we do we make sure we have the right security. We train our security in what we need them to do. What the deliverables are,” said Thomas. “We go though no one come into the venue unless they get properly searched. Our back doors are… we have cameras and the back doors are always closed so there’s one way in.”

Thomas says “every exit has a security officer on the inside.”

And, he has an added layer at the front.

“We always employ on busy nights at least two CMPD officers up front” Thomas says.

Despite the best protections - trouble can still show up.

Police say if you're out and a shooter arrives, think fast but don't panic. “What we emphasize is avoiding the threat, barricading yourself if you can't avoid it and getting away if you can. It's the ABC’s” said Capt Wilson. “It becomes the last minute and you’re confronted by the person, you have to make that personal choice what you’re going to do – but the worst thing you can do is do nothing. It’s difficult not to panic.”

Because when people head out to enjoy a night on the town, most people have their guards down. Police say when you arrive at a venue, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself.

“Just be aware of your surroundings, know where the exits are,” said Capt Wilson. “Just take a minute to decide if something were to happen how would I get out of here because if you’re thrust into that stressful situation you’re not going to have time to think about.”

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