MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The first of three meetings scheduled in Myrtle Beach to offer safety tips on what to do if confronted by an active shooter took place Thursday night. Police say mass shootings like Columbine and other current events have changed the way officers do their jobs, and they hope to pass along some of that knowledge to Myrtle Beach citizens.
Talking to a packed house, Myrtle Beach Lt. Eric Di Lorenzo said mass shootings are happening now more than ever and we as a society have stay ahead of the curve.
"What we want the public to come away with is that they're not helpless. What they do does matter in an active shooter event," said Lt. Eric Di Lorenzo.
Pat Loomis said she's a member of her neighborhood watch, and arrived to tonight's meeting early in anticipation.
"I was very interested in it. I'm going to be doing some traveling soon and I thought it would be a good thing for me to know," said Pat Loomis.
The meeting keyed in on several mistakes people can make in active shooter situations, one being the instinct to hide.
"If you just lay down and play dead, you become a static target, you become an easy target. We want you to run, we want you to fight like your life depends on it. We want you to have the mindset that this person is not going to take me away from my family today," Di Lorenzo said. He said police have also had to adapt, and now engage shooters more quickly to take their focus off innocent people.
"If you're in a crowd and something doesn't feel right or someone doesn't look right, they probably aren't. There's a reason why your body is telling you that something is not right about this situation. We want people to trust that," Di Lorenzo said.
Loomis said she's happy she now has the knowledge to protect herself, but just wishes she didn't need it at all.
"I really don't know why we're shooting each other. I just don't understand. I think we just need to love each other more and I know that's maybe old-fashioned, but I just don't know why we're killing each other," Loomis said.
Two more meetings are scheduled for later this month, the dates and locations are listed below:
- Wednesday, Jan. 25 – Base Recreation Center, 800 Gabreski Lane, 6 p.m.
- Thursday, Jan. 26 – Mary C. Canty Recreation Center, 971 Canal Street, 6 p.m.