Saturday was one of those almost but not quite days for the Campbell County boys soccer team. Top-ranked and consensus favorite to win the Class 4A state soccer tournament, the Camels fell just …
CHEYENNE — The quick police response to killings at Casper College shows the evolution of law enforcement tactics since the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado, officials say.
More than two dozen heavily armed officers from various agencies swarmed the Casper College campus Friday as police first assumed an “active shooter” was at work there, Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh said hours after the attack. Some officers were in uniform, while others were plain-clothes detectives who donned ballistic vests and snatched up automatic rifles.
Police say Christopher Krumm, 25, of Vernon, Conn., shot his father James Krumm, 56, of Casper, with an arrow in front of half a dozen students in a computer science class the older man was teaching on campus on Friday morning. The younger Krumm fatally stabbed himself in the classroom after attacking his father.
Police say Christopher Krumm earlier had killed his father’s girlfriend, Heidi Arnold, 42, off campus.
In the Columbine shooting, two students killed 13 other people before committing suicide. Police there followed the then-standard tactic of establishing a perimeter before advancing toward the gunmen. That approach led to an agonizing wait during which shots could be heard coming from within the school.
Casper District Attorney Mike Blonigen said Monday that the awareness police developed after the Columbine massacre helped direct Friday’s quick response at Casper College.
“We got everybody,” Blonigen said of the Friday’s law-enforcement response. “Our Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation folks who go plain clothes, our detectives who go plain clothes, they were out there. I think one thing you did learn from Columbine is you want to get your assets to the scene as quickly as possible. Even if you can’t immediately deploy those assets, you get them to scene.”
Although officers hadn’t drilled before at the Casper College complex where Friday’s attack took place, Blonigen said they deployed promptly and secured it room by room.
Kenneth S. Trump, president of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based school security consulting firm, said Monday that Columbine “changed the landscape of law enforcement tactical responses to active shooter and violent offender incidents.”
“Today, the initial responding officers are trained to immediately proceed and attempt to neutralize the shooter, or the violent aggressor. And not wait for an extended period of time, so that they can minimize the loss of life and harm that’s done to people,” Trump said.
Walt Nolte, president of Casper College, spoke at a press conference hours after Friday’s killings. He said he had been a college administrator for about 40 years, “and I can tell you without a doubt, this day has been the worst of my career.”
However, Nolte said he appreciated the “quickness, the scope and the quantity” of the response by police and other emergency workers.