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Surviving Chaos: The Trolley Square Active Shooter Incident.

I wrote this article 17 years to the day after the Trolley Square Mall shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah. On February 12, 2007, just before 7:00 PM, a teenager from Bosnia killed five and injured four in about six minutes before law enforcement neutralized the threat. The shooter was armed with a shotgun, handgun, and a backpack full of ammunition.

Consider the time. It's the week of Valentines Day and in the evening. Many patrons are off of work and either shopping, having a nice dinner, or getting ready for Valentines day as a date night.

The shooter parks his vehicle in the upper level of the west parking garage. He encounters his first victims in the parking garage. He then continues to the mall and enters on the west side of the mall. He encounters another victim as he enters the mall and shoots him within approximately 30 yards. He shot at an unarmed security officer who was in the area and then shot a female who was in the main corridor of the mall.

Cabin Fever is a small boutique gift shop where the shooter encountered five of his victims. He was confronted by an off-duty police officer and moments later local law enforcement arrived ending the threat.

As an A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooter Survival Instructor we teach people to prepare for and survive these kind of incidents. Starting with the A-Assessment. Your situational awareness in situations is extremely important in survival. This includes when your in the parking lot prior to the shooter entering the premises. Always think ahead and contact 911 immediately when it is safe to do so. We want emergency response to arrive as soon as they can, It increases survivability.

L-Leave if you can safely do so immediately. Remember distance is your friend. If the shooter is behind you then run in a zig zag fashion making it hard for the shooter to shoot at you. Look for proper items that will cover you from the line of fire and please leave items behind. Notify others to leave the area as you are leaving.

If you can't leave and you must hide then I-Impede. Use proper shelter and barriers between you and the shooter. Find ways to lock and block access from the shooter. Turn the lights off and put your cell phones on silent.

If you must fight to survive then V-Violence is the only answer. You must disarm and be prepared to kill if it means surviving. Find weapons around you. Work as a team, swarm the attacker, control the killer's weapon, and then control the killer.

At anytime if you must E-Expose yourself do so carefully. If you feel you are in a safe position. Stay there until law enforcement arrive. When they do arrive exit with hands up and palms open. They need to know you are not a threat. Remember their adrenaline is going also.


Remembering the Victims:

  • Jeffrey Walker (53) Killed

  • Vanessa Quinn (29) Killed

  • Brad Frantz (24) Killed

  • Kirsten Hinckley (15) Killed

  • Teresa Ellis (29) Killed

  • Alan Walker (16) Injured

  • Shawn Munns (34) Injured

  • Carolyn Tuft (43) Injured

  • Stacy Hanson (53) Injured


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