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Former Henderson police officer speaks crowd safety in wake of Highland Park mass shooting

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Posted at 9:50 PM, Jul 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 01:24:37-04

(KTNV) — Nights where thousands gather to set aside their worries and celebrate together have always been common in Las Vegas, and the events in Highland Park, where a gunman killed six people and injured 24 others, put security experts on high alert during July 4 celebrations across the country.

Many downtown on Monday said they never consider the possibility of a mass shooting while they're in Downtown Las Vegas.

"Nothing like what happened earlier crosses my mind," said Kaitlyn Garrison. "You don't think about that when you're out having fun. You're just, you don't expect stuff like that to happen."

Two shootings have happened on Fremont Street in the last two weeks injuring one person, killing another, and sending nearby crowds running for cover.

Tourist Mike Clark said shootings like those have kept his head on a swivel.

"Being the man of the family I'm always looking for, like, when I'm sitting down some place I'm always looking where I need to go, where I can go," Clark said. "When I'm in a vehicle I always look at a way to, I usually back in so I can get out quickly if I need to."

Retired New York and Henderson Police Officer David Kohlmeier said people need to emulate Clark's actions when in large crowds.

"We're living in a different time," he said. "Things have gotten more violent in general."

Kohlmeier said people should always pay attention to their surroundings and identify points of exit, spots that would make for good cover, and make a plan with friends and family about where to meet if people become separated.

"It's sad to say this, but everybody has to think about what is the safe spot for me to go to? God forbid something happens. Where can I run to? Where can I hide," he said.

Kohlmeier said the 4th of July can be more dangerous because fireworks can often sound like gunshots, even to officers like himself, so people should rely on senses other than hearing to avoid danger.

"If you're prepared and your family is prepared, you're going to make it out alive."