TAMPA, Fla/ -- Two days after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, dozens of business owners and workers in Ybor City were getting advice from Tampa police on how to survive an active shooter situation.
The training event at the HCC Ybor Campus had actually been planned for weeks, but many in attendance say the timing could not have been more relevant.
“After what happened yesterday, I thought that it might be a good idea,” said Beverly Mills, who works at a bar in Ybor City.
Mills heard there was a police presentation on active shooter survival taking place and couldn't sign up fast enough.
“Because I was wondering what I would do in that kind of situation if there was a shooter or something happened like, how I would react. If I would know what to do,” said Mills.
About 50 local business people showed up for what could be life-saving advice and training.
“Oh, it brings it back up to the surface,” said Bo Smith with Yacht Starship. “We really elevated our security policies and procedures after the event last June in Orlando.”
It's understandable why business owners and workers in Ybor City would be concerned about an active shooter situation. At times the streets are packed with people -- not just on weekends, but for parades and festivals.
Officer Sean Mahabir, who does more than 100 of the presentations every year, says he’s spoken in front of about 4,000 people this year alone. He saw a sudden surge in participation for this training event after the shooting in Las Vegas.
He says he tries to see it as an opportunity to teach that many more people the survival skills - run, hide, fight.
“They feel a little angst, you know? A lot of times of what our world has become, and how violent it has become,” said Mahabir.
Mahabir says the lecture was the same one he would've given before the shootings in Las Vegas. But he's certain that with attacks happening more frequently outside the workplace, there will eventually be changes in his presentation, reflecting what has sadly become a growing threat.
“When we look at the active shooter situations that have happened, in 2000 there were six annual active shooter situations in the last seven years. That number has risen to 17 per year. And that number is on the rise,” he said.
“You’ve just got to be prepared,” said Rachel Pulliam, who works at an Ybor convenience store. “You never know when it's going to happen.”