By Liz Collin

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Twin Cities security company believes buildings have the potential to stop mass shootings. WCCO revisited the inventor of a suppression system to see the difference it could make in schools or in a place where terror again struck this weekend.

About 1,300 miles from the horror in El Paso, Texas, Jody Crowe couldn’t help but think how his security system could have saved lives.

“Very quickly there were some photographs that came out of him walking into the Walmart, walking through the vestibule with the weapon in his hand,” Jody Crowe said.

“The system could have been deployed in that vestibule before he breached the interior of the building,” Crowe said.

The company, Crotega, started six years ago in Crowe’s garage before it moved to a Crystal workshop. As a retired New York City police detective and corporate security expert, Dan Murphy recognized this system as revolutionary.

“We saw in Dayton this weekend a 30 second response by officers who were practically right around the corner, and still we had nine dead,” Murphy said.

“As a society we need to take a cold, hard look at the tools we’re using to protect people,” he added.

In this case, a person or even artificial intelligence could detect a weapon.

“When the system alerts then the screen comes up and shows the zone of threat,” Crowe explained.

A touchscreen deploys a water based chemical.

“Within seconds it causes involuntary eye closure, it’s stinging on the skin.  It causes almost like an asthma-like response,” Murphy said.

“What we’re trying to do is deter, disrupt and delay what they want to do and have them worrying about their discomfort,” Crowe said.

Crotega considers it the same concept as a fire suppression system.  Fires spread quickly and you can’t wait for firefighters to get there.

“Same thing with shooters and aggressors who enter a building looking to harm people. They kill, they kill quickly and you can’t wait for the police department,” Murphy said.

Murphy believes it’s time we move past the priority of hiding or calling for help.

“The number one priority must be stop the shooting as soon as possible,” Murphy said.

The threat suppression system costs about $100,000 to equip a typical school entrance including a vestibule, lobby, and intersecting hallways.  Crotega is currently in talks with schools across the country, including in Minnesota.


Liz Collin