In wake of Memorial City Mall panic, police issue tips on active shooter situations

HOUSTON – Police continue to search for a man they said they believe is responsible for causing mass panic at Memorial City Mall on Sunday.

The disturbance was reported at 3:15 p.m. in the mall’s food court.

What happened

Police said a man wearing a red half-mask jumped on a table, raised his hands, yelled that he was going to kill himself and dropped an unknown object wrapped up in toilet paper on the floor.

Shoppers ran for the exits and said they thought they were in the middle of an active-shooter situation.

Police responded to the mall and found no evidence of an active shooter -- or even a gun -- but the question remains: What should you do if you’re ever caught in an active shooter situation?

KPRC spoke with Stephen Daniel HPD’S Senior Committee Liaison and member of active shooter defense to find out how to keep your family safe.

Here is what Daniel said:

What is the first thing I should do when visiting a large public space?

“The first thing you do is you sit back and you look at, "Where do I go to get out of this place if something bad goes down?'"

If there’s an active shooter, what do the police think I should do first?

“Well, if we’re talking about a real active-shooter and shots are fired, you absolutely want to run and get out of there. That’s always your first option."

Daniel said the second option is to find a safe place to hide and hunker down.

What if I can’t find a place to hide?

“As a very last resort, you want to go hands-on, face-to-face with the lunatic. Tackle him, take him down ... if it all possible.”

What should you do to avoid being separated from family and friends during the chaos?

"You can always have a pre-arranged meeting place at a mall. Most likely the car, especially if (you have) a child that’s old enough to navigate by themselves.”

If I have a license to carry and have my weapon, should I approach the suspect?

“You just don’t want to put yourself in that position where the police have to decide whether you’re the good guy or the bad guy.”

Police are asking anyone with information In Sundays scare or the suspect believed to have caused the chaos you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).