Workplace violence takes many different shapes and forms, ranging from theft or the threat of violence to full-blown shootings and murder. Despite the amount of time spent studying these incidents, workplace violence remains extremely difficult to predict, even for experts. The best way to protect yourself, your workers, and your company is by simply learning how to prepare for these incidents and know how to respond when necessary.
To remind you of the looming threat workplace violence presents, we have gathered more examples of recent incidents from companies much like your own.
Here are six violence workplace incidents that took place in the first half of 2017:
1. North Park Elementary School
Last month in San Bernardino, CA, a man entered a special needs classroom at a local elementary school and opened fire. He was the estranged husband of a teacher there, and the classroom was hers. In his rage, he shot her to death and two young students also were shot. One of the two students, a boy who was only eight years old, died after he was admitted to the emergency room. After opening fire on the classroom, the man turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
You don’t need to worry about just your employees and patrons. If somebody is having problems at home, or has a reason to believe that somebody could be upset with them, it’s important to encourage them to alert you and any necessary personnel. This shooter, for example, checked into the school’s front office and appeared to have followed all of their procedures.
Had they been alerted that this person was an estranged husband and no longer a loving spouse, they may have had the necessary knowledge to deny him access and take other actions.
Another incident last month occurred in an office tower located in Dallas, Texas. A 60-year-old man entered his workplace, pulled out a gun, and shot his supervisor to death. The victim had just been married and was a mother to seven children. The perpetrator didn’t have any criminal history and there wasn’t any indication that he was going to commit a crime or had any issues with his supervisor.
This illustrates exactly how difficult it is to predict a violent workplace incident. An older gentleman without a criminal history and no apparent issues with his supervisor doesn’t seem likely to be a shooter. In order to truly protect ourselves and our employees, we must remain vigilant at all times and always be prepared to take action against violence whenever necessary.
3. Jordan’s Fish & Chicken
Less than a week into 2017, one of the year’s first violent workplace incidents happened at a Jordan’s Fish & Chicken restaurant in Indianapolis, IN. Early in the morning just after 1 a.m., officers were called into the restaurant and found two men dead. Surveillance footage shows two armed robbers entered the restaurant, hopped over the food counter and then shot the two men in the back of the kitchen. They completed the robbery and immediately left the store.
In this case, it’s difficult to say whether or not training could have prevented violence. Even then, it’s important to train any employees dealing directly with money and the public on how to handle robberies. It’s important to give the robbers what they ask for and never place yourself in any danger. By simply handing them whatever they want and remaining submissive, you’ll pose less of a threat and mitigate the chance of unnecessary violence.
4. Jared the Galleria of Jewelry
Later this January, a lady was shot in a jewelry store located in Henderson, NV. An armed robber entered the store and was confronted by an armed security guard employed by the store. He aimed and fired at the robber, but his shot missed and instead hit an employee. She was rushed to the hospital but tragically passed away shortly after. The security guard did not face any charges. Instead, the robber, if caught, will face the murder charges as it was their act that caused the incident.
This is especially tragic as an innocent life was taken by somebody who was only trying to do the right thing. While this guard might not have been at fault, it’s critically important to keep in mind the safety of employees and innocent bystanders when hiring and training security staff. If they are too aggressive, they can put even more lives at risk.
5. Yanfeng Automotive Interiors
Only a couple weeks ago in Fountain Inn, SC, a man fired gunshots in an automotive plant. Two employees there had an argument and one man pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots. The man struck two employees, but neither had fatal wounds. The shooter had a criminal background that includes involuntary manslaughter and a prison term of 15 years.
It’s important to have a management team, supported by a threat response team and process, that is able to identify potential conflicts and de-escalate them quickly. In this instance, the shooter was involved in a workplace argument, which escalated into violence. Given his history shows a propensity for violence, a proper threat management process could have helped nip the incident in the bud.
6. Pine Kirk Care Center
At the very beginning of May, a police chief and two hostages were killed at Pine Kirk Care Center in Kirkersville, OH. The shooter took two hostages in an alley behind the care center and eventually killed both of them along with the police chief during the incident. He later turned the gun and shot himself. Both of the hostage victims worked as nurses at the care center.
Situations like this are difficult to control and almost impossible to predict. The best thing you can do is prepare your staff to act the right way in any potentially violent situation through strong planning and regular exercises.
Can we help you?
Bryghtpath has developed the workplace violence programs, threat management teams, and crisis plans for many Fortune 500 organizations. Our firm has more than a century of experience in developing actionable plans to help prepare organizations for the unexpected. Learn more about our approach to Crisis Management in our Ultimate Guide to Crisis Management.
Our expertise includes crisis communications and emergency procedures, and we’d love to help empower your management to handle challenging workplace violence situations safely.
Contact us today at +1.612.235.6435 or via our contact form.