LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - After more than 30 people were shot and killed in mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend, it may have many people looking for the doors in a restaurant or the exit sign in a movie theater.
A harsh reality of mass shootings elsewhere leaves many locally preparing for a what-if scenario. A local security expert said that’s about right.
Louisville is no stranger to such tragedies. The Standard Gravure massacre will mark its 30th anniversary next month, and just last year, a gunman walked into a Jeffersontown Kroger store and shot and killed two people.
The weekend tragedies in Texas and Ohio, just days after one in California, have left some people telling WAVE 3 News they are mentally preparing for what could happen.
“It’s like another time; it’s like somebody drew a line and said, 'OK, that’s the end of this period, now we’re going to move to a place where everybody has a gun,” Jeffersonville resident Joe Martin said Monday.
Louisville resident Dave Gassman said he’s become a little more concerned about public safety.
“I don’t obsess over it, but I’m more aware definitely, just in the general public anywhere you’re around,” he said. “I think of it more at events where there’s more people.”
What’s happening in America has people looking for exits and escape routes, and that’s just fine with former Secret Service Agent Greg Gitschier, who consults companies about active shooters.
“You should be prepared everywhere you go,” Gitschier said.
Gitschier, who sets up security for PGA golf events, said being aware of your surroundings inside and out, with festivals or concerts is smart, not paranoid. He said knowing where all exits are, and noticing hiding places, is important if a shooter is near a front entrance.
“Maybe going out that front door isn’t always the best solution,” he said, before recalling last year’s Kroger tragedy. “In J-town, the first shooting occurred inside and the second shooting occurred outside, so running out that door would have run you right into the second shooting.”
Martin said he looks for movie exit signs, and at a recent outdoor concert, he didn’t tell his wife he was secretly looking for their fastest way out.
“She goes, ‘Where you going?’ I said, ‘Why don’t we set up here?’” Martin said. “I wanted to make sure I was close to concrete, if it came to that point, I wanted to get going as fast as I could going the other way.”
Gitschier, who’s also a concealed-carry instructor, said he understands some people will carry guns, but he urges everyone who does to seek out proper training and a refresher course if you haven’t had training in a while.
If you ever find yourself in an active-shooter situation, Gitschier said run, hide and if you have to, fight.