Swarming police response in mall shooting highlights ‘paradigm shift’ since Columbine

(Photo: Steve Dipaola / Reuters)

A gunman wielding a stolen semi-automatic rifle and several fully loaded magazines opens fire inside a shopping mall teeming with as many as 10,000 people. Yet, only two people are killed and one wounded. Sheer luck, or were authorities and mall officials well-prepared?

Probably a bit of both, say law enforcement and security experts, some of whom credit new police tactics and better security training at schools and public venues for helping to minimize the casualties at the Clackamas Town Center near Portland, Ore.

"Ever since Columbine, there’s been a paradigm shift," said Mark Lomax, executive director of the National Tactical Officers Association. "In the past, it was the standard protocol if there was a shooting incident or a barricade suspect or a hostage situation, the first responder would secure and contain the crime situation until the SWAT team or negotiators or bomb techs would arrive."