Active Shooter

Though we hope we never encounter an active shooter situation on the University of Colorado Colorado Springs campus, we know preparation and advance planning can guide our actions and help reduce the negative impacts of such a tragic event. This information provides guidance to faculty, staff, students and visitors who may encounter an active shooter situation. It also describes what you can expect from responding law enforcement officers.

An active shooter is a person or persons who appear to be actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in populated areas on campus. In most cases, active shooters use firearm(s) and display no pattern or method for selection of their victims. In some cases, active shooters use improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to cause additional victimization and act as an impediment to law enforcement and emergency services responders. These IEDs may detonate immediately, have delayed detonation fuses, or may detonate on contact. Active shooter situations are dynamic and evolve rapidly, demanding immediate response by the community and immediate deployment of law enforcement resources to stop the shooting and prevent harm to the community. Be aware that the 911 system may become overwhelmed.

Please contact the Department of Public Safety (DPS) if you have additional questions or would like an officer to speak to your department, class or group.


In general, how you respond to an active shooter will be dictated by the specific circumstances of the encounter. If you find yourself involved in an active shooter situation, try to remain calm and CALL 9-1-1 as soon as possible.

If an active shooter is outside your building or inside the building you are in, you should:

  • Try to remain calm
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  • Proceed to a room that can be locked or barricaded
  • Lock and/or barricade doors or windows
  • Turn off lights
  • Close blinds
  • Block windows
  • Turn off radios or other devices that emit sound
  • Keep yourself out of sight and take adequate cover/protection, i.e. concrete walls, thick desks, filing cabinets
  • Silence cell phones
  • Have one person CALL 9-1-1 and provide:
  • Your name and location and state that "we have an active shooter on campus, gunshots fired."
  • If you were able to see the offender(s), give a description of the person(s) sex, race, clothing, type of weapon(s), location last seen, direction of travel, and identity - if known
  • If you observed any victims, give a description of the location and number of victims
  • If you observed any suspicious devices (improvised explosive devices), provide the location seen and a description.
  • If you heard any explosions, provide a description and location.
  • Wait patiently until a uniformed police officer, or a University official known to you, provides an "all clear"
  • Unfamiliar voices may be an active shooter trying to lure you from safety; do not respond to voice commands until you can verify with certainty that they are being issued by a police officer or University official
  • Attempts to rescue people only should be attempted if rescue can be accomplished without further endangering the persons inside a secured area
  • Depending on circumstances, consideration also may be given to exiting ground floor windows as safely and quietly as possible

If an active shooter enters your office or classroom, you should:

  • Try to remain calm
  • Try not to do anything that will provoke the active shooter
  • Only as a last resort when it is imminent that your life is in danger, make a personal choice to attempt to negotiate with or overpower the assailant(s) if there is no possibility of escape or hiding
  • CALL 9-1-1, if possible, and provide the information listed in the previous guideline
  • Barricade the room or proceed to a safer location if the active shooter(s) leaves the area

If you are outside and encounter an active shooter, you should:

  • Try to remain calm.
  • Move away from the active shooter or the sounds of gunshot(s) and/or explosion(s)
  • Look for appropriate locations for cover/protection, i.e. brick walls, retaining walls, large trees, parked vehicles, or any other object that may stop bullet penetration
  • Try to warn other faculty, staff, students and visitors to take immediate shelter
  • CALL 9-1-1 and provide the information listed in the first guideline

What to expect from responding police officers

The objectives of responding police officers are:

  • Immediately engage or contain the active shooter(s) in order to stop life- threatening behavior
  • Identify other threats such as improvised explosive devices
  • Identify persons requiring medical care
  • Identify and interview victims
  • Process and investigate the crime scene

Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard in order to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The responding officers may be in teams dressed in normal patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external ballistic vests and other tactical gear. The first responding officers will be focused on stopping the active shooter and creating a safe environment for medical assistance to be brought in to aid the injured. Do exactly as the officers instruct. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands visible at all times; if instructed to lie down, do so. If you know where the shooter is, tell the officers.

Keep in mind that, even once you have escaped to a safer location, the police usually will not let anyone leave the area until the situation is completely under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.

Keeping Updated

If an active shooter situation develops, the University will implement its Emergency Management Plan and will combine efforts with law enforcement to support them in their efforts to manage the event. The University will provide the most accurate and timely information available to students, faculty, staff and the community. The University has a variety of ways to disseminate information to all students both on and off campus. One of the best ones is UCCSAlerts, the campus emergency notification system, which you can sign up for at