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Willis Tower

Active Shooter Call at Willis Tower Turns Out to Be 'Unfounded'

Police were called to the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago late afternoon on July 13 to respond to an active shooter situation on the building’s 50th floor.   July 18, 2022


By Greg Zimmerman, senior contributing editor


Police were called to the Willis Tower in downtown Chicago late afternoon on July 13 to respond to an active shooter situation on the building’s 50th floor. Tense moments ensued before the police announced that there was no active shooter in the building. Chicago chief of police David Brown said reports of an active shooter in the building were “unfounded,” but that in light of current events, “We take all these reports seriously,” according to the Chicago Tribune

Building management sent an email to all tenants that Willis Tower remains safe. 

So what happened? 

According to NBC Chicago, employees overheard a call and then an intercom announcement that “this is not a drill.” They then used their active shooter training skills to call police and either shelter in place or evacuate. Police and SWAT teams responded immediately and cleared three floors leased by the company from which the call came. About 30 employees barricaded themselves in the men’s and women's bathrooms on the building’s 50th floor, according to Fox32 Chicago, and about 40 people sheltered in place in a 45th floor conference room. 

This event came on the same day that the House of Representatives passed by a vote of 260-169 a measure to implement a warning system for active shooter situations. The measure is expected to pass the Senate.  

Greg Zimmerman is senior contributing editor for FacilitiesNet.com and Building Operating Management magazine. 

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