Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon held a news conference today to urge citizens to be prepared to fight back if a gunman threatens people and an officer is not around.

He recommended watching a five-minute video called “Run, Hide, Fight,” which is on the sheriff’s website. The video, which the City of Houston produced with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, assumes you don’t also have a gun.

In the video, a man walks into an office, pulls a shotgun out of a black backpack and starts shooting people. The first person to go down is the security guard.

The narrator says the first choice is to escape if you can. If you can’t get out, find a place to hide. As a last resort, if your life is at risk, whether alone or working together as a group, improvise weapons and fight.

“Commit to taking the shooter down, no matter what,” the narrator says.

It’s important to remember “the inherent strength of the individual who when confronted with danger is in the position to do something about it,” Cannon said. “A hero is an ordinary person who when confronted with extraordinary circumstances acts in an inspiring fashion.”

A reporter pointed out that Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Principal Dawn Hochsprung tried to stop gunman Adam Lanza from entering the school and was shot to death and asked what anybody there could have done differently.

“I’m not going there,” Cannon responded.

Instead he pointed out instances where aggressive actions by unarmed citizens had stopped a shooter from doing more damage.

Cannon said he has no problem with citizens arming themselves with guns as long as they take the time for proper training and that allowing teachers to bring guns into school could raise other safety concerns.

As far as putting more deputies in schools, Cannon said he has been talking with County officials about it but no decision has been made.

“We are exploring various options,” he said. “We have not come to any conclusion as to a specific plan.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or