What to do in a Shootout or Gunfight

A shootout has occurred between the police and criminals. You are caught in the middle of it. Here are things you need to do when bullets start flying.

First and foremost is never panic. Stay calm and composed. When you are in a panicked state, you might run into the line of fire rather than away. You could either be wounded or killed, or taken hostage by the criminals which may lead to a standoff, and this may complicate things further.

Run away from the shooting. The further you are the better. If you are running towards the police, put your hands up and declare you are an innocent. Subject yourself to a search if they tell you to.

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Shootouts are dangerous. First order of business is to move away from the shooting. If you cannot, find hard cover. Source: NBC Los Angeles

Avoid kibitzing (usyoso). Resist the urge to see what is going on. This is not the movies. This is no activity to take a selfie. Do not let your curiosity get the better of you. Do not try to record the incident if there is no safe and secure area for you to do it.

If you are unable to run away from danger, find cover. Get behind something hard or dense to protect you from bullets. It is best to stay prone (lie flat on the ground). Do not stand up or move unless the shooting stops and the police says it is clear. Bear in mind cover is different from concealment. Wood or thin metal cannot protect you. Bullets can penetrate them.

If you are carrying a gun, you still cannot and must not get involved even if you are duly licensed and carry the requisite permit. You can only use it if you are directly threatened by criminals. If you encounter the police, offer no resistance so they know you are not a threat and present your permit and license. You are going to be in big trouble if you do not have any permit or license and will be subject to the appropriate charges (illegal possession of a firearm).

Unless you are an off-duty police officer (who can carry a gun), do not try to play hero. Shootouts tend to be chaotic. The police will assume anyone armed is a threat and will act accordingly. You could get shot or arrested by the police. It goes without saying, let them handle the situation. Do not interfere.

Shootouts are dangerous and as such, always prioritize safety over everything else. Do not take unnecessary risks for whatever motive you have. Do not panic and move away. Do not try to interfere; let the police handle it.

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Aaron Ronquillo

Quizzer, Practical Shooter, Martial Artist, Movie Buff, Avid Reader, Amateur Foodie and Photographer, Cat Lover; Someone with a wanderlust; got a keen eye for detail, trivia; enthusiastic but cautious; patient, calculating