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What to do in an office shooting

In what police have described as an attempted murder-suicide, a disgruntled executive entered 231 S. LaSalle St. in the Loop on Thursday morning and shot his CEO in the head before killing himself. There were 475 workplace homicides nationwide in 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, far fewer than most other incidences of on-the-job fatalities. RedEye asked an expert for advice on what to do if violence erupts in the workplace.

  • Leave the building if you can. “If the situation escalates, first thing is, if you’re capable of exiting the building ... escape is the first mode of response,” said Timothy Dimoff, security expert and CEO of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services in Akron, Ohio.
  • If you can't leave, then barricade yourself. Identify ahead of time places where you can hide and lock the door or otherwise form a barrier between you and the violent person. “Know where you can go, safe rooms that you can get into with or without others,” Dimoff said. “Lock the door [or] barricade the door and prevent the person from endangering you.”
  • In extreme situations, you may need to instigate physical contact with the attacker. “When you’re in a close encounter,” Dimoff said, “you’ll have no choice but to get into a physical confrontation. The confrontation can be as simple as throwing things at the person. … Sure, it’s dangerous, but it’s more dangerous to sit there and stare at the person who has a gun.”

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