Active Harmer/Shooter Response 

An Active Harmer/Shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. More recently, the term was updated to “Active Harmer” because, while the individual’s intention is the same, the weapon used may not be a firearm (e.g., hatchet, knife, vehicle, etc.).

Active Harmer situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly. Typically, the immediate deployment of law enforcement is required to stop the person levying the attack and mitigate harm to victims.

How to respond when an Active Harmer is in your vicinity

To respond to an Active Harmer, quickly determine the most reasonable way to protect your own life and constantly evaluate your options of Run, Hide, and Fight. Remember that visitors are more likely to follow the lead of students, faculty, and staff during an active harmer situation.

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to: 

  • Have at least two escape routes and plans in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of law enforcement
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Use the SafeZone app to alert Campus Dispatch via text message or voice
  • Call 9-1-1 from a campus landline or 303-724-4444 from your cellphone when safe to do so 

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active harmer is less likely to find you. 

  • Your hiding place should:
    • Be out of the active harmer's view
    • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (e.g., an office with a closed and locked door)
    • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement
  • To prevent an active harmer from entering your hiding place:
    • Lock the door
    • Blockade the door with heavy furniture
  • If the active harmer is nearby:
    • Lock the door
    • Silence your cellphone and other electronic devices
    • Turn off any source of noise (e.g., radio, television, etc.)
    • Hide behind large items (e.g., cabinets, desks, etc.)
    • Remain quiet
  • If evacuation and hiding are not possible:
    • Dial or text 9-1-1 or 303-724-4444 to contact Campus Dispatch, if possible, to alert police of the active harmer's location
    • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen
    • Use the SafeZone app to alert Campus Dispatch via text message or voice


As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to disrupt and/or incapacitate the active harmer by: 

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against the active harmer
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your actions
  • Work together as a team

Are you prepared?

  • Program the University Police Department's telephone number in your cellphone 303-724-4444
  • Ensure you are signed up to receive CU Alerts!
  • Download the SafeZone app
  • Report suspicious behaviors to University Police, CARE Team or FaST
  • Be aware of your surroundings
  • Note the location of emergency wall phones, quick reference guides, etc.
  • Wear your University-issued badge
  • Add the Campus Emergency Information Line telephone number to your cellphone contacts 1-877-463-6070

Additional Resources

Contact Information

Garrey Martinez

Director - Emergency Management Division (Anschutz)
  • University Police


Primary Phone:303-724-0252

Mailing Address:
  • CU Anschutz

University Police Campus Safety and Security Building P34

13309 E. 17th Place

Aurora, CO 80045

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