Club security expert Robert Smith of Nightclub Security Consultants evaluated the video of Manny Resto disarming a would-be mass shooter at Mons Venus in Tampa, and offers tips on what club operators and their security staff can learn from Manny’s experience.
Nightclub Security Consultants’ Robert Smith has not only trained adult nightclub security personnel across the US, he’s also offered specific training on how to handle an active shooter inside a club. In fact, he presented an EXPO seminar just a few years ago that specifically addressed the situation experienced by Manny Resto at Mons Venus on March 19.
We had the chance to get Smith’s input on the recent event at Mons Venus, including his evaluation of how Resto handled the situation, and what clubs can learn from it.
ED: Are you surprised that someone targeted an adult nightclub for a mass shooting, or are you perhaps more surprised that it hadn’t happened yet?
SMITH: I’m not surprised at all that anyone would target an adult club for a mass shooting. Typically, all types of hospitality venues are considered “soft” targets. This term simply means the target has not set up difficult entry processes, doesn’t have armed guards in set positions and simply put, an adult club is easy to make access to right through the front door.
Further, a popular adult club will have a minimum of 50 or 100 potential targets, even on slow nights. A person who is planning to kill as many as they can would want to find a target with a high number of potential people to kill. No, not surprised at all.
ED: You’ve seen the video, and perhaps you read Manny’s comments in his exclusive interview with us. What did Manny do correctly? How would you assess his reaction to the situation?
SMITH: I’ve watched the video an over 40 times. I’ve also heard Manny’s comments a few times as I examined this incident. Manny was at his door, saw the suspect approaching the door and Manny did not move and act aggressive. This is a great move and what we teach for this type of possible shooter. Remember, if the shooter had a plan to kill Manny the gun would have been pointed at Manny. This also tells me the shooter perhaps didn’t plan to create a mass shooting, because he likely would have started shooting outside.
Because the gun was not pointed at Manny, this gave Manny a critical three-to-four seconds to stand still, to the right off the door, and when he felt safe, grab the gun. After he attempted to grab the gun he lost control and the suspect hit Manny over the head and at that moment, the gun came out of the shooters hand and fell to the ground.
The suspect was overweight, had his vision obstructed from the mask and appeared to be, to some level, intoxicated. His coordination and actions show me all of those things. Manny gained the upper hand and his partners helped to finally control the suspect.
Bottom line: Manny acted perfect for this situation. The shooter walked towards the door. Manny did not appear to be a threat to the shooter. As the shooter tried to open the door, the gun became available to Manny and he grabbed it. I teach “Control the gun, and you control the shooter.” That is exactly what Manny did. And when Manny acted and controlled the gun, that was the end of the real threat.
ED: What should clubs (specifically their security staff) do immediately to lessen the chances that a mass shooter could enter their club? Are metal detectors and/or wands a good idea? What about specific tactics?
SMITH: First, how would a metal detector have stopped this suspect? No metal detector would have stopped him. A real person, who was calm, saw the opportunity to grab the gun stopped this suspect.
Are metal detectors a good idea? Yes, if they are really used every day and night. And, metal detectors can, and have prevented the unplanned active shooter in the bar or club. They work to prevent the guest who has his gun under his shirt as he tries to enter. With no metal detectors, this same guest entered, starts drinking, drinks too much, gets in an argument and then pulls out the gun.
But, for the planned shooter, who starts shooting immediately, metal detectors are useless.
Second, the more club guards talk openly and honestly about this incident, the more mentally prepared they will be to stop, think and act. The more training club guards can get about exactly what Manny did, the more mentally prepared they will be. And the person grabbing the gun does not have to be a security guard. It could be the door girl if she has been trained to think and feels she can.
Third, for this type of potential shooter, one that does not immediately start shooting as he comes around the corner, a simple tactic is to ignore but watch from the corner of the eye until the gun is available to grab. Another tactic is to slowly back up, one or two steps, hands up above the head, until the gun is safe to grab. But most importantly, remember that guns will find their way into your venue. And if the shooter is not shooting right away, that person can be stopped, like we saw Manny do. The shooter had no plan for a person like Manny.
For more information on Nightclub Security Consultants, visit Nightclubsecurity.com or call (619) 880-7672.