Active harming incidents have occurred at a number of locations in recent years, and the University of Colorado is not immune to this potential.  While the odds of this occurring at CU are small, the consequences are so potentially catastrophic it makes sense for all students, staff, faculty and visitors to CU to know how to react should such an incident happen here.

Watch the Shots Fired Video (CU Students, Faculty, and Staff only)

In order to access the video, students, faculty, and staff will need to use their CU identikey and password. After authenticating with your identikey credentials you receive a message asking if you want to view only the webpage content that was delivered securely — click NO.

There are no universal answers that guarantee safety in such an event. There are guidelines that can be followed to maximize success. The University of Colorado Police Department recommends you consider the following key points.

Run, Hide, Fight Video

For those who are unable to view the above video because they are not affiliates of the CU Boulder campus, there is another option. The below videos, called "Run, Hide, Fight: Surviving an Active Shooter Event" were produced by the City of Houston Mayor's Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. The second video is in Spanish.


Be Aware and Be Prepared

  • This type of event can happen here. Universities are inherently open environments, and are difficult to secure.
  • Be knowledgeable of resources available for persons who appear to need psychological or emotional help.
  • Is there someone you know who may be showing warning signs, such as unusual or erratic behavior?
  • The Student of Concern team (SOCT) is a campus resource dedicated to assisting students who may be in distress or who may be experiencing challenging or difficult life circumstances. Learn more at the SOCT website
  • Counseling assistance for CU students is available at Counseling and Psychological Services.  
  • Active shooters have been suicidal. They believe they are going to die and have nothing to lose by killing.
  • Active shooting incidents create chaos. Expect a confusing environment. React with a simple plan that maximizes potential for safety.
  • There may be more than one “right” answer in your response.
  • Your initial response may need to be changed to another alternative.
  • Have the mindset that this will happen here at some point.
  • Know you will act and will survive.

Awareness and Action—The Keys to Survival

If an active shooting incident occurs near you, try to:

Get out. Get away from where the shooting is occurring. Go to a place of calculated safety away from the shooting location.  Call 9-1-1 and provide the location of the shooting and a description of the shooters, if possible.

Hide out. If you cannot get away from where the shooting is occurring, find a room where you can hide. If you have to hide out:

  • Lock the door
  • Turn off the lights
  • Spread out in the room
  • Silence phones, etc.
  • Inventory potential weapons

Take out. You and classmates or friends may find yourselves in a situation where the shooter will accost you. If such an event occurs, quickly develop a plan to attack the shooter. Use items at your disposal for improvised weapons, throw items to distract the shooter, and consider a plan to tackle the shooter, take away his weapon, and hold him until police arrive.

Law Enforcement Response

Law enforcement agencies in Boulder County, including the University of Colorado Police Department, have trained on responses to active shooting incidents. Be mindful that police response will come as expediently as possible, but in the first few minutes of such an incident you may have to rely on your own actions to assure your safety. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the University of Colorado Police Department at 303-492-8168.