POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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4 SPECIAL REPORT H ACTIVE SHOOTER RESPONSE e objective of the latest report "was to examine specific behaviors that may precede an attack and which might be useful in identifying, assessing, and managing those who may be on a path- way to deadly violence." How successful was the FBI's latest active shooter report titled "A Study of Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States Between 2000 and 2013?" More importantly, who should be the primary audience for the findings? CONFIRMING ASSUMPTIONS Law enforcement officers—especially those who have had firsthand experi- ence in responding to an active killer incident, or investigating one after the fact—have enough experiential knowl- edge to draw some subjective conclu- sions about these offenders. According to the FBI, three quarters of the subjects spent a "week or longer planning their attack." Only a quarter of those included in the study were diag- nosed with a mental illness, but almost all were "experiencing multiple stress- ors (an average of 3.6 separate stressors) in the year before they attacked." ose stressors include "financial pressures, physical health concerns, interpersonal conflicts with family, friends, and colleagues (work and/or school), mental health issues, crimi- nal and civil law issues, and substance abuse." Importantly, the FBI said that hav- ing mental health issues "is not syn- onymous with a diagnosis of mental illness." Undiagnosed conditions such as de- pression, anxiety, and paranoia may be witnessed by people close to the at- tacker, and addressed directly with the individual, or reported to authorities. e FBI said that on average, active killers displayed four to five "concern- ing behaviors over time that were ob- servable to others around the shooter" such as problematic interpersonal com- munications, and/or "leakage of violent intent." e FBI said, "In the weeks and months before an attack, many active Consider some of our current, pre- existing assumptions about active kill- ers. We believe they: • Are single males (not in a romantic re- lationship) at the time of the attack • Had some manner of grievance against one or more individuals at the attack location • Experienced mental health issues just prior to (or at the time of) the attack • Spent at least some time planning their attack (at times even threatening its imminence) • Exhibited behaviors that (after the fact) could be construed as pre-attack indicators e FBI sought in this latest study to examine data culled from 63 separate incidents to determine the accuracy of those assumptions. Unsurprisingly, our suppositions turned out to be pretty accurate. PHOTO: N.M.M.A. E.R.T./ARMOR EXPRESS WHAT DOES THE FBI'S LATEST STUDY ON ACTIVE SHOOTERS REALLY MEAN? Pre-Attack Behaviors D O U G W Y L L I E In late June, the FBI released what it called Phase Two of the agency's on- going examination of active killer events that took place between 2000 and 2013. In Phase One of the study, researchers focused on the circumstances of the active shooting events—location, duration, and resolution of the at- tacks—but did not attempt to identify the offenders' motives or any "observ- able pre-attack behaviors."

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