Desoto County News

Active Shooter Workshop held in Southaven

Photo: A Southaven police officer shows the process of applying a tourniquet during the Active Shooter Workshop Thursday morning. (Bailee Harris/

By Bailee Harris

Currently in an era where headlines are too often dominated by tragic accounts of active shooter incidents, preparedness has never been more urgent. According to the FBI’s 2022 active shooting incidents report, there were a total of 50 incidents resulting in 313 casualties. While this number decreased 18% from 2021, it is still a real threat that society faces every day. 

Such violence hit close to home in 2019 when a former Southaven Walmart employee fatally killed two and wounded two people. This threat has impacted the DeSoto County community, so planning and preparations are more important than ever. 

Thursday morning March 28, the Southaven Chamber of Commerce worked with the Southaven Police Department to educate civilians about how to react in an active shooting situation. The workshop took place at the Landers Center, where Chick-fil-A Southaven catered breakfast for the participants. 

 Southaven Police Capt. Clint Horton led the workshop, informing the participants that there is no standard profile of an active shooter, but that there are specific signs that business owners and employees can lookout for. 

“It can literally be any individual within your organization,” Horton said. “Profiling on a basis of these factors, therefore, is not effective. There’s no way that we can successfully profile based on those factors alone. It’s much more productive to focus on these behaviors and communications, which would be those warning signs.” 

It was shared that most active shooters have a pathway to violence, starting with a grievance, ideation, research and planning, preparation, and breach, all followed by an attack. 

“We have to take threats seriously,” Horton said. “We want to assume the best in everybody, and we want to assume that nobody will hit that breaking point where they carry out an attack like this, but when someone shows you who they are, believe them. Most of the time they’re going to give you indicators.”

Horton maintained that preparation is key, and all businesses and organizations must develop an emergency action plan. The Southaven Police Department will help businesses owners, as well as their employees, develop a plan of action for these situations by completing a walk-through inside the building and discussing preventative measures that can be taken. 

“If you don’t have adequate training, you’re setting yourself up for failure in the future, no matter what that may be,” said Horton. “I recommend that if you don’t currently have training steps and processes, especially for situations like this, it’s time to get something on board.”

Citizens can also develop personal emergency planning steps. These include being aware of your environment, mentally rehearsing how you would need to react in an emergency situation, being familiar with at least two exits whenever you enter a building or room, asking about building emergency action plans, program local and campus emergency numbers in your phone, and participate in campus emergency notification systems. 

An additional important topic discussed was understanding local law enforcement procedures. Responses when law enforcement arrives on the scene include to remain in place until instructed to move, follow officers’ instructions, do not have any items in your hands, immediately raise your hands and do not present a threat to officers, avoid quick movements around the officers, don’t try to hug or hold onto them, avoid pointing, screaming, or yelling, and limit your questions regarding the suspect unless you have vital information.

At the end of the workshop, a Southaven Police Officer demonstrated how to use a tourniquet. Officers encouraged participants to purchase a tourniquet to have on hand in case of an emergency, recommending the CAT (Combat Application Tourniquet). 

Cristan Engelke, Southaven Chamber of Commerce Event Coordinator, emphasized the relationship between preparedness and community safety. 

She stated, “Please utilize these resources because the more we’re prepared, the easier it is on our first responders to keep us safe as well.” 

Denise Silas, Chamber Ambassador, and workshop participant, stated “Given the information that they gave us today, I think it just really equipped us to be more aware of our surroundings, be more aware of the people, and be more aware of people’s behavior to put us in a position to protect not only individuals in our businesses, but even their families.”  

In conclusion, everyone must have a plan in place beforehand. If you ever find yourself in this situation, take immediate action, find a secure area or run, reassure others, call 911, treat injured people if it is safe to do so, and if you absolutely have to, prepare yourself to fight back. 

Businesses interested in working with the Southaven Police Department on an emergency plan can contact Captain Clint Horton at

Additional active shooter information: