Local expert calls mass shootings an ‘epidemic’

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After what’s now the fourth deadliest school massacre in U.S. history, a local expert is calling mass shootings an epidemic in the country. We spoke to Criminal Justice expert Dominic Lombardo two days before the Lakeland shooting when screen shots from Bishop Luers students threatening to kill teachers and the bishop were given to us.

At that time he said every threat needs to be taken seriously. He’s again emphasizing that statement.

“In today’s world and in today’s environment every threat needs to be taken seriously,” Lombardo said.

There have been 18 school shootings this year.

“Here we go again,” Lombardo said.

The latest shooting was in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. A 19-year-old killed at least 17 people at a local high school there. While the details of why the shooter did this are still being investigated, Lombardo, Indiana Tech Director of Criminal Justice and Pre-Law, is hearing the same things in Florida as he’s heard after other school shootings.

“The common theme is here, and you can hear in the Florida broadcast, we never thought this could happen here,” Lombardo said. “Number two these killers somehow telegraph their actions 90 percent of the time.”

Lombardo said the shooter can tell people directly or indirectly, like on social media. That’s why it’s always important to report concerning words or behavior.

Lombardo is trained in active shooter preparedness, and is working with Indiana Tech to train everyone to respond to an active shooter. He said every organization should also have a plan. First you want to try to evacuate, your second resort is barricading, finally fight back.

“I don’t care if it’s throwing books, computers, tvs at this person, but the new paradigm is we can’t be sitting ducks anymore,” Lombardo said. “We have to fight back.”

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend sent us a statement Wednesday.

“If a threat is made, there are procedures outlined in each school’s handbook and safety plan that are immediately activated; including contacting emergency personnel, and if appropriate, law enforcement. Every Catholic school in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has a safety plan. This plan can include safety surrounding fires, tornados, lock-downs, active shooter and safety reunification plans.

Schools are constantly practicing procedures and drills with students and staff to ensure their familiarity with the plan and their ability to respond in emergency situations. Additionally, many schools have trained Indiana School Safety Specialists on staff to ensure knowledge of up-to-date protocol for emergencies.”