Off-duty security officer helps subdue Va. school shooter

April 18, 2013
AlliedBarton security director recounts tale of heroism

April 12, 2013 was supposed to be a peaceful, relaxing day off for Jim Gorman. The AlliedBarton security director for the New River Valley Mall in Christiansburg, Va., was celebrating his 33rd wedding anniversary when he realized that he still had his company fuel card in his wallet and decided to drive to the mall to give it to a colleague.

Shortly after returning the card, Gorman received a call that there may possibly be a shooter at the New River Community College, which has a satellite location inside the mall. “I turned my vehicle around, went back and I saw two police officers at the rear door of the college and my wife was with me and I said ‘well, I have to get you out of here,’” said Gorman recounting the events of that day. “Then, I pulled (up) and the subject was standing by his car in front of the community college because he had pulled his car right up to the one exit and blocked it with his vehicle.”

At that point, Gorman said he got out of his vehicle and told the suspect to drop his weapon and get on the ground. Gorman said the suspect complied and he held him on the ground until police officers arrived about 30 to 40 seconds later. The suspect, later identified as 18-year-old Neil Allan MacInnis, had just allegedly shot and wounded two women at the college. Despite being unarmed, fear “never crossed” Gorman’s mind.

“I don’t even remember thinking, I just remember reacting,” Gorman said. “Once I got him down, I asked if there was anyone else and if that was his vehicle. He said ‘no’ and ‘yes’ - no there were no other shooters and yes that was his vehicle.”  

Gorman said that this is the first time in his career that he has had to subdue an armed suspect, but according to his wife, he gave a very commanding presence. “My wife said I was very loud,” Gorman explained.

Ironically, this was the first Friday Gorman has had off in the past couple of years. “I couldn’t believe it,” he said. Gorman described the college where this occurred as being “quiet” and that most of the students who attend classes there have regular jobs.

Though many consider his actions heroic, Gorman said he was just reacting to the situation. “It’s over and done and we move on,” he said. “The best part is no one passed away and that’s the great thing about it.”