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Seattle Police train night clubs to bounce mass shooters

Ian Allen runs security at Foundation night club.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols
Ian Allen runs security at Foundation night club.

This weekend is Pride Weekend. And with the Orlando massacre on people’s minds, Seattle night clubs are getting special training in how to avoid a mass shooting.


I’m sitting in a room full of night club bouncers. We’re all facing the front of the room. Then, behind us, a noise.

“Bang... BANG...”

Seattle Police Officer Jeff Geoghagan walks up the aisle. His fingers form the shape of an imaginary gun. One by one, he points his fingers to the back of our heads.

Geoghagan: “BANG. And, stop.”

It takes him 6 seconds to reach the front of the room.

Geoghagan: “How many people died in that time?” 

Seven people.

Geoghagan: “Are you getting a feel for how quick these events happen?”

Mass shootings happen faster than police can arrive. And so, security staff need to learn to recognize shooters – before they shoot.

[asset-images[{"caption": "SPD Officer Jeff Geoghagan stands in front of a slide, part of a class to train night club security staff to recognize potential active shooters. The slide asks, what would you do?", "fid": "127309", "style": "placed_full", "uri": "public://201606/Whatwouldyoudo.jpg", "attribution": "Credit KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols"}]]Ian Allen came to the lecture. He does security at a nightclub called Foundation. He says you need to know your customers.

Allen: “Because they’re the ones who are going to tell you, you know, that guy in the corner, he’s been coming around lately and he’s weird and aggressive. And this is a gay club, but he doesn’t seem to like homosexuals.”

But being prepared isn’t enough, says Egan Orion. He organized this year’s Pride festival. He says mass shootings have a deeper cause.

Orion: “We have to recognize this as part of a greater undercurrent of hate and intolerance in society. And while most people are open minded, there are still people that are ginning up our fears.”

Orion says the debate around bathroom access has made trans people particularly vulnerable to violent attacks.