West Michigan security expert addresses Florida school shooting
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. —
Video and photographs are emerging from Florida after 17 people were killed when a former student went on a rampage and a security expert believes it might have been prevented.
Newschannel 3's Anna Giles spoke to Jason Russell, a former Secret Service agent who runs a security company focused on active shooter training in West Michigan.
He believes the school did everything they could once shots were fired, but says they could have stopped the shooter before things got that far.
Firestorm Solutions Chief Security Officer Jason Russell said, "I don't think it’s acceptable to say, ‘yeah this is just going to happen and we just have to deal with it.’"
Many of the students found themselves trapped inside classrooms and closets, some so close to the shooter they could hear the shots he fired.
Police have not yet said anything about a possible motive, but we do know the student had been expelled from the district and was not supposed to be on the property.
Russell called the events at a high school in Florida a tragedy that might have been prevented.
He said, "They had warning signs previously that this student might have been a problem. One of the biggest forms of prevention we are not focusing on is identifying warning behaviors and really intervening before an attack."
Police say the shooter pulled a fire alarm before he started shooting, using a safety device against the people it was supposed to protect.
Russell said, "He was trying to draw people out of their classrooms, get a lot of targets out in the open."
He believes the school did everything it could once shots rang out. Students were told to shelter in place. Some students told CBS News they knew the shooter while he was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and called him "strange."
Russell says schools need to get better at detecting warning signs within a student.
He said, "The key is that students even see the warning signs, but they are apprehensive to report it because they don’t want to tell on other students. There has to be an anonymous way to report those warning signs."