KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The East Tennessee Valley Crime Stoppers group joined WATE 6 On Your Side News at Midday to discuss active assailant situations.

Stacey Payne with Crime Stoppers explained it’s important that people think about active situations outside just shooting scenarios. An active assailant situation is when someone is actively engaged in killing or trying to use deadly force on others in a confined space or populated area.


Payne added the response can be similar no matter what the situation; run, hide, fight. The run, hide, fight tactic is detailed below:

  • Run: Exit the building or area you are in where the attack is taking place as quickly and safely as possible, distancing yourself from the threat.
  • Hide: If you can’t safely evacuate, hide in a secure room or area creating as many barriers between you and the assailant as possible.
  • Fight: If there are no other options to safely escape or hide and you are confronted by the assailant use whatever tools are available to fight the assailant to defend yourself.

Payne also gave additional tips for the hiding portion of the tactic, saying it’s important to eliminate any factors that can make someone a greater target for an assailant.

  • Secure doors
  • Turn off lights
  • Move into concealed areas of a room, away from doors and windows
  • Turn the sound off of phones (remember even a vibrating phone can be heard)
  • Remain Calm

Of course, if someone finds themselves in an active assailant situation, they need to call 911 as soon as possible.

She added people need to be aware of their surroundings at all times, even in places they may feel the most comfortable, like at work, shopping, school, church, or out to eat.

Payne also encouraged discussion within families about the ‘what if’ scenarios. “Though you don’t want to scare your children, you do want to talk to them in an age-appropriate manner about safety,” she said.