The terrorist attack at Ft. Hood Army Base Howze Theatre Soldier Readiness Center by turncoat Army Major Nidal Malik Hassan on November 5, 2009 stands as the largest single terrorist attack committed on U.S. soil since 9-11. Thirteen dead and 28 wounded. This act of cowardice, as all such incidents do, brings us some valuable learning points here in the civilian law enforcement world in terms of what went right and what went wrong. While I could spend many pages of commentary on what appears to be a blatant disregard by the U.S. Army of a person who was overtly planning or urging acts of terror against soldiers and civilian personnel, my analysis here will focus mostly on the law enforcement response to the shooting itself.


The active shooter response initiated by patrol officers in this type of incident works! This concept was developed in a large part by the Columbus Ohio Police Department SWAT team following the 1999 murder (we can certainly say “terrorist attack” here) of multiple high school students at Columbine High School by two “fellow students”. In that incident, patrol officers responded, set up perimeter, and using the response model in place at that time, waited for SWAT.


When confronting an active shooter, someone who has just killed numerous people and whose identification is positive, there is no time for verbal commands or discussion. What I teach to my patrol people and to police cadets is that this type of killer, terrorist or deranged lunatic (sometimes one in the same), is killing in a conditioned fashion.

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The terrorist attack at Ft. Hood Army Base Howze Theatre Soldier Readiness Center by…