301st IS Airman averts potential high school active shooter

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Mark Thompson
  • 70th ISRW Public Affairs

An Airman with the 301st Intelligence Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, may have averted a tragedy with his quick thinking, creative use of technology and drive to do the right thing.


While heading out for an early morning workout, an Airman 1st Class, administrative apprentice, came to a screeching halt when he received a text message from his sibling regarding an alarming social media video. 


The video showed a Hallandale Beach High School, Miami, Florida, student wielding a handgun with a loaded magazine during a pep rally. 


“Once I saw what appeared to be 9mm rounds and a pistol, I recorded the video from my iPad,” the Airman said. “That way, no one would notice I copied the video.”


A former member of the high school’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps member, the Airman called his first sergeant.


“I informed her of what I had seen and sent her the video,” he said. “From there, she informed the principal, who initiated a Code Red.” 


A Code Red is an emergency code indicating imminent danger that normally puts a school in lock down. 


All students were safely accounted for, according to the Hillandale Beach Police Department, who later identified the student in the video. Unfortunately, it was reported that they did not recover the handgun or magazine. 


“[This Airman] epitomizes the Air Force concept of a Wingman,” said Lt. Col. Sharon Ritchie, 301st IS commander. “He recognized the problem instantly and moved to take action to prevent others from coming to harm.” 


When reflecting on why he acted so quickly and notified others when he sensed danger, the Airman said, “I wasn’t going to look the other way.”


“[The Airman’s] quick reaction potentially saved lives, and we're immensely proud to call him a member of the 301st Intelligence Squadron,” Ritchie said.


(Note:  The Airman’s name was withheld for security reasons.)