Active shooter preparedness: 'It's everywhere'

Posted at 2:43 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-24 16:56:53-04

COPPERAS COVE, Texas — On a recent May morning, it was packed solid at GymKix in Copperas Cove.

Most days are like that, according to co-owner Guy Beveridge.

“We have over 1,000 families,” Beveridge told 25 News during a recent walk through of the facility.

Beveridge is also a Coryell County constable, veteran and security expert.

He makes securing facilities like private schools, Fortune 500 companies, and anywhere the public might go his business.

"It's everywhere. It's everywhere. You can see Allen as an example. A big, open parking lot and an active shooter," said Beveridge.

Texas has a disturbing past history with mass shootings.

Fort Hood twice, Santa Fa five years ago, Uvalde one year ago, and most recently Allen. Before that, there was one of the country’s first mass shootings at UT in Austin decades ago.

"National law enforcement response time is somewhere between 7-12 minutes, so you have to have a plan that helps you between that 7 to 12 minutes. And that's after you call 911," Beveridge said.

Bottom line: it no longer matters where you are, or how old you are, living in the U.S. in 2023 means being prepared whenever you step into public.

"Whether it's a big box store, a child center or a school, pull over to the side and understand what the sounds are at that moment, the smells, the sights, and that should be your baseline. That should be what 'normal' looks like," said Beveridge.

GymKix is equipped with dozens of security cameras visible to the entire front lobby. The more eyes, the better.

Some of the smaller playrooms have special locks, a “hardened” feature, that makes breaking down doors far more difficult.

While those can be useful in a classroom, or smaller environment, bigger areas like big-box stores, malls, and sporting venues present different challenges.

"It's a get out, lock out or take out approach. It doesn't matter which you pick, you just need to know the word ‘out’ and your relationship to the killer. You pick the right one for you at that moment," said Beveridge.

He says the “take out” approach, or physically fighting back, should only be a thought for most people if there are no other options.

Armed security and law enforcement are an exception to that. It’s their job to confront the shooter, said Beveridge.

It's something he preaches to the thousands of kids who train and compete at the gym, and it’s a message he has shared with hundreds of businesses and private schools across the country.