A short documentary about courage, communications, and resilience in the face of a school shooting
Just before school was about to start on the morning of April 27, 2015, a student walked down a flight of stairs from the second floor into the Commons, an area teaming with North Thurston High School (NTHS) students. The student had a .357 Magnum revolver in one hand. He raised the gun and fired into the ceiling. Chaos erupted. A teacher saw the shooter. So did the principal. The student fired a second shot. What happened next is the best case scenario in the face of such terror.
SHOTS FIRED is a filmic case study of what worked well and what could have worked better from a communications technology standpoint in dealing with a critical incident.
Why make this film?
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Congress recognized the need for a nationwide interoperable communications system dedicated to public safety. Hard to imagine such a system does not already exist. Nearly 3000 victims died in the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Among them were 343 firefighters and 23 New York City police officers. Why did so many more firefighters die? They didn’t get the command to evacuate the collapsing towers. They were on a different communications frequency than law enforcement.
Washington OneNet is our state program office working with the federal First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet) to design a nationwide wireless broadband network dedicated to public safety.
At the time of the shooting Mr. Bash was North Thurston Public Schools Deputy Director. He is now the Superintendent of the Tumwater School District.
School Resource Officer
Officer McClanahan was on site when the shooting occurred and helped apprehend the shooter
Communications/Community Relations Director - North Thurston Public Schools
Ms. Schrieve managed all press and social media surrounding the crisis.
Principal, North Thurston High School
Mr. Rood was face-to-face with the shooter.
Detective Sergeant, Lacey Police Department
Detective Brimmer was a first responder who assisted with the incident command.
Brady Olson, Social Studies Teacher
Mr. Olson tackled the shooter.
The filmmakers wish to thank the teachers, students, staff and administrators of North Thurston High School and North Thurston School District in Lacey, Washington.
With heartfelt gratitude to our interviewees, in order of appearance:
Officer Ed McClanahan
Detective Sergeant Terence Brimmer
Very special thanks to:
Lacey Police Department
And thanks to:
Thurston County Sheriff
Olympia Fire Department
Washington State Patrol
Thurston 911 Communications
Providence St. Peter Hospital
Olympia Police Department
First Responder Network Authority
Produced & Directed by
Story Crafted by
Aerial Footage by
Original Music by
Sound Recording & Mix by
Post Production Services
Web Page Sources:
North Thurston High School
KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
The Huffington Post
New York Times
New York Daily News
Los Angeles Times
The Denver Post
Funding for this project and all OneNet activities is provided by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) through their State and Local Implementation Grant Program (SLIGP)