Active Shooter Training

Ready Houston

Giovanna Cano, Staff Writer

On Oct. 3, Ybor City business owners had the chance to learn how to “run, hide or fight” in an Active Shooter training event hosted by the Ybor City Development Corporation. In the wake of the recent Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, more businesses are concerned with safety. On the Ybor Campus, a crowd of business owners and employees gathered to learn how to prepare for these life or death situations.

Tampa Police officer Sean Mahabir has been organizing presentations as part of the Special Incident Management Unit in Tampa Bay, spreading awareness and teaching “run, hide, fight,” survival skills. According to the FBI, an active shooter is “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.” Mahabir demonstrated the active shooter scenario with videos of the Columbian High School Massacre and the Cascade mall shooting. Some members of the audience closed their eyes or looked away from the footage. Mahabir reminded the audience that these “are not Hollywood videos” and instead “are monsters” in real life.

Surviving an active shooter begins by having a plan. Mahabir explained the details of being able to identify gunshots and always knowing your exits in any location. He described whether to run or hide (depending on the circumstances) and to make survive the highest priority. The decision Mahabir emphasized the most is choosing to stay alive. When it is a last resort situation, he encouraged the public to fight for their life, “you have to fight…say I am going to fight; I am going to survive.”

According to a study by the FBI, active shooter incidents have become more frequent in the past decade. An average of 16.4 incidents are recorded annually. The most common location is a place of commerce, and the second location is an educational environment.

Dr. Shawn Robinson, HCC’s Ybor City campus president, agreed “in case something happens on campus” he believes faculty and students should be prepared for these situations. Earlier this year in March, HCC’s Dale Mabry campus partnered with the Tampa Police department to conduct an active shooter simulation which was part of a county-wide emergency response exercise. 500 student volunteers from the school participated. The event tested the health care systems’ ability to respond to an active shooter incident.
The FBI handles one active shooter incident every three weeks. Mahabir reminded the audience that these are “not if, but when” situations. There will be future active shooter trainings scheduled by the Tampa Police Department; for more information visit

The Ybor City Development Corporation also encourages the public to remember if they “see something, say something” and to call 1-855-FLA-SAFE or to file a report online at