FBI May Expand Study of Mass Shooter Psychology

The agency may launch a broad-based study involving interviews with many mass shooters to seek patterns in their backgrounds, thinking and behavior. There were 30 “active shooter” incidents last year.

The FBI is embarking on an effort to understand better the psychology behind mass shooters. The bureau has conducted a few interviews with perpetrators of mass killings in an effort to find commonalities in what motivated them to attack. Now the agency may launch a broad-based study to interview many mass shooters and look for patterns in their backgrounds, thinking and behavior. “We’re definitely missing a piece of the puzzle through the offenders’ eyes,” said Sarah Craun of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. The potential study would be similar to research the FBI and Secret Service have conducted into serial killers, school shooters and assassins. It would likely take several years. The FBI declined to say how many mass shooters it hopes to interview.

Four of the five deadliest U.S. mass shootings have taken place since 2012, including last year’s Oct. 1 massacre that claimed the lives of 58 Las Vegas concertgoers and the Sutherland Springs, Tx., church shooting that left 26 dead. The 30 active shooter incidents in 2017 and the 138 people killed were both the highest totals since the FBI began keeping track in 2000, though they make up a tiny fraction of the nation’s homicides. The seeming randomness of the attacks often baffles the police and the public. Understanding what makes these types of killers tick could help identify potential attackers beforehand, law-enforcement and security officials say. “People are hungry for anything that can prevent this or predict this or deal with it better,” said criminologist Gregory Vecchi of Missouri Western State University, former chief of the FBI unit now known as Behavioral Analysis. An FBI review of the case files of 63 mass shooters found that only one-quarter had ever been diagnosed with a mental illness and only five percent had been convicted of a violent felony.

from https://thecrimereport.org

After FL Shooting, Gaming Promoters Plan More Security

A player believed to be a 24-year-old man from Baltimore gunned down two people, wounded 11 others, and killed himself at a video-game tournament in Jacksonville, Fl. “In the world of competitive video games, mental health issues loom so large and come up so often that the problem somehow becomes invisible,” wrote Tyler Erzberger, who covers esports for ESPN.

Authorities are investigating why a player at a video-game tournament in Jacksonville, Fl., gunned down two people and wounded 11 others Sunday, an incident that has prompted calls for more security at gaming events, reports USA Today. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said the lone shooter, believed to be David Katz, 24, of Baltimore, was among the dead and had killed himself. Some media reports said Katz was upset about losing an intense game.he  The violence broke out during a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament that was held in a gaming bar that shared space with the Chicago Pizza and Sports Grille in an entertainment complex along the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.

The incident stunned gamers and prompted questions about security at gaming events. They are typically livestreamed from local bars or other gathering spots; the largest are held in sports arenas. Another tournament, the Evolution Championship Series in Las Vegas, drew about 15,000 people in March. “It’s very clear that we need to be more proactive for 2019 and beyond,” tweeted Joey Cuellar, the tournament director. “The amount of undercover law enforcement at Evo was unprecedented, and we will be installing metal detectors for ALL days next year.” Esports have become big business, which Goldman Sachs report valued at $500 million in 2016. At Sunday’s Madden competition, the tournament was streamed live on Twitch.tv, an online network that attracts tens of millions of visitors, most of whom watch footage of other people playing video games. “In the world of competitive video games, mental health issues loom so large and come up so often that the problem somehow becomes invisible,” wrote Tyler Erzberger, who covers esports for ESPN. “In a world where one day you can go from playing in your bedroom to the next being criticized by millions under spotlights, mental health can’t be overlooked.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Three Dead, Seven Wounded in New Orleans Shooting

Police Chief Michael Harrison called it a “volatile and tense situation” after two shooters fired into a crowd at a strip mall in New Orleans.

Two armed people walked up to a crowd gathered Saturday evening outside a strip mall in New Orleans and opened fire, killing three people and wounding seven more, reports the Associated Press. The shooting happened on a busy thoroughfare about three miles from the French Quarter. Police Chief Michael Harrison said the two suspects believed to be wearing hoodies had a rifle and a handgun. He said they appeared to have fired indiscriminately into the crowd, striking ten people. Before fleeing they took time to stand over one person. “We believe that they actually stood over one of the individuals and fired multiple rounds and then after that fled,” Harrison said.

Harrison spoke with family members and friends at the scene of the “volatile and tense situation.” He called on people to come forward and help police find the killers and also asked people not to take matters into their own hands. “This was an extremely tragic incident. A lot of people were out here tonight. A lot of people, we know, saw what happened, heard what happened. And we need more than anything for people to come forward to help … solve this case,” Harrison said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

‘Stop the Bleed’: Cleveland Volunteers Ready to Save Lives

Cleveland’s Wolfpack Gunshot Response Team is part of a national “Stop the Bleed” movement to train citizens to apply first aid to victims of violence or accidents.

A group of citizens in Cleveland has trained to render life-saving aid to victims of gunshots and other trauma, reports Cleveland.com. Members of the city’s Wolfpack Gunshot Response Team sport red shirts illustrated with a wolf’s head. The group’s motto is “leave no homie behind.” They were trained in April to use battlefield methods–how to properly use a tourniquet or apply pressure to a bullet wound–to keep a trauma victim alive until medics arrive. The group is similar to Chicago’s Ujimaa, or UMedics, which was founded six years ago and has trained hundreds of young people to treat gunshot trauma. The groups are part of a national “Stop the Bleed” movement to train civilians to respond to traumatic injuries from violence, car accidents, and industrial or farm accidents.

The Cleveland group, based in a low-income building at East 55th Street and Chester Avenue, raised money to equip volunteers with distinctive orange trauma kits, which contain such things as gloves, blood-clotting gauze and a tourniquet. A founding member, Belton Sanders, 29, says he carries his kit everywhere. “One day, I may save someone’s life,” he said. “Being someone who is poor, I don’t have money to give, but I can give this skill to my community.” The effort has stoked something bigger. “It’s given some of the members a sense of purpose and self-esteem,” said Suncere Ali Shakur.

from https://thecrimereport.org

FL Man Stands Ground in Parking Dispute Killing; No Arrest

Michael Drejka, 47, shot and killed Markeis McGlockton, 28, last week outside a Clearwater convenience store. The local sheriff said Drejka is protected by Florida’s controversial self-defense law, though a prosecutor will make the final decision.

A Floridian who who shot and killed another man during an argument over a handicap parking space is protected under the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground law and will not be arrested, reports the Tampa Bay Times. The confrontation between Michael Drejka, 47, and Markeis McGlockton, 28, took place in a Clearwater convenience store parking lot last Thursday afternoon. According to deputies, Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, about parking in a handicap space without a permit. McGlockton went up to Drejka and “slammed him to the ground,” said Pinellas County Sheriff County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. While still on the ground, Drejka pulled out his handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest, killing the father of three.

Drejka told deputies that he was he was in fear of being attacked again. He owned the gun legally and had a concealed carry permit. The shooting “is within the bookends of ‘stand your ground’ and within the bookends of force being justified,” Gualtieri said. He added, “I’m not saying I agree with it, but I don’t make that call.” The law gives immunity to those in fear of their lives who use force to defend themselves. The State Attorney’s Office will make a final decision on charges, Gualtieri said. Jacobs, McGlockton’s girlfriend, said, “It’s a wrongful death. It’s messed up. Markeis is a good man … He was just protecting us, you know? And it hurts so bad.” She broke down in tears.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Court Orders New Sentencing for D.C. Sniper Malvo

A federal appeals court threw out the four life sentences that Lee Boyd Malvo received for his role in the 2002 Beltway sniper shootings that occurred in Virginia when he was 17. The ruling cites the 2012 Supreme Court decision that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juveniles.

A federal appeals court threw out the four life sentences that Lee Boyd Malvo received for his role in the 2002 Beltway sniper shootings that occurred in Virginia when he was 17, reports the Washington Post. The unanimous ruling from the three-judge panel cites the 2012 Supreme Court decision that mandatory life sentences without the possibility of parole are unconstitutional for juveniles. The court later made that decision retroactive. Malvo would face new sentencing hearings in two jurisdictions in Virginia. He pleaded guilty in Spotsylvania County and agreed to two life sentences without parole, and was convicted by a jury in Chesapeake and given the same punishment. The convictions still stand. Under Virginia law, the jury in Chesapeake had only two possible sentences to weigh for the capital murder convictions: death or life in prison without parole.

Virginia’s attorney general can ask the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit to rehear the case, appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or move forward with new sentencing hearings. Malvo, 33, and John Allen Muhammad also killed six people in the Maryland suburbs of Washington during a three-week period that terrorized the region. Muhammad was executed in Virginia in 2009. Thursday’s ruling does not apply to the six life sentences Malvo received in Maryland after he pleaded guilty to six murder charges. A judge upheld the sentences, saying there was not a requirement to impose a sentence of life without parole. In the Virginia case, three judges wrote that their conclusions were made “not with any satisfaction but to sustain the law.” The judges called the shootings “the most heinous, random acts of premeditated violence conceivable, destroying lives and families and terrorizing the entire Washington, D.C., metropolitan area for over six weeks, instilling mortal fear daily in the citizens of that community.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

One Dead, 22 Hospitalized in New Jersey Shooting

A 24-hour celebration that showcases local artists in Trenton, N.J., became the Wild West early Sunday amidst a fight inside a warehouse. One person was killed and numerous others were injured in a shootout at the Art All Night celebration. The violence was predicted in a Facebook post on Saturday morning

A 24-hour celebration that showcases local artists in Trenton, N.J., became the Wild West early Sunday amidst a fight inside a warehouse. One person was killed and numerous others were injured in a shootout at the Art All Night (AAN) celebration. Officials say about 1,000 people were at the event, with many hanging outside the warehouse, The Trentonian reports. “When we got here around 2:30, it didn’t look like we were coming to Art All Night,” city resident Franco Roberts said. “It looked like we were outside of a Philadelphia club after the bar closes and people who don’t want to leave are standing around their cars smoking and drinking.”

Officials say that before the shooting there were physical altercations both inside and outside the warehouse prompted police to shut down the event. Authorities say off- and on-duty police in the area fired their service weapons as the suspects fled the building while shooting at each other. Tahaij Wells, 32, died at the hospital after suffering gunshot wounds. Officials say he was one of the suspects exchanging gunfire with others inside the warehouse before running outside. Investigators believe he was shot by a cop after police saw him engaged in the shootout. At least 17 people were struck by gunfire, including a 13-year-old boy. A total of 22 people were taken to the hospital to treat injuries. There was chatter about the shooting more than 15 hours before it happened. A Facebook post at 11:25 a.m. Saturday said: “Please please DO NOT GO TO ART ALL NIGHT! THEY WILL BE SHOOTING IT UP!”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Chicago Braces as Summer–and Shooting Season–Arrives

While shootings have declined in Chicago, violence continues to acutely impact a handful of neighborhoods. Both residents and the police know that Memorial Day weekend often brings a spike in gunplay.

When 80-degree temperatures roll into Chicago in time for Memorial Day weekend, Solomon Johnson knows just where he’ll be: Safely inside his centrally cooled home in the Austin neighborhood, maybe slipping out for a barbecue dinner at his grandmother’s home in a safer neighborhood. There have been too many shootings around his home, and there’ll be even more as the weather finally turns. While shootings are down across the city, they have been concentrated in three West Side police districts that border each other: Harrison, Austin and Ogden. The districts rank first, second and third in the number of people shot this year, data shows. In the first week of May, nearly half the shootings in the city occurred there.

The Chicago Police Department plans to deploy more than 1,000 extra officers to contain violence over the weekend and, as in years past, hundreds of them will be sent to the West Side. Just how many, the department will not say. Two years ago, 27 of the 69 people hit by gunfire over the Memorial Day weekend were shot in or near the Harrison District. So many were shot there that patrols were beefed up. Nine more people were shot over the next two days. Last year, more officers were sent into the district and no shootings were reported there, though violence continued in the other West Side districts. This year, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson would only say that a “large police presence” will be added to the lakefront, parks, the CTA, as well as neighborhoods.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Gunman Ranting About Trump in Shootout at Resort

Jonathan Oddi removed a flag from the back of the Trump National Doral Miami resort and entered the lobby shouting “anti-Trump rhetoric,” later shooting into the ceiling and chandeliers as officer rushed in. Five officers fired and Oddi suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the legs.

A gunman ranting about President Trump walked into the lobby of Trump National Doral Miami resort early Friday morning, draped an American flag on the counter and began firing, the Miami Herald reports. The man — identified as Jonathan Oddi, 42, who was not a guest at the resort — waited in the lobby for police officers to arrive before luring them into a gunfight, authorities said. During the gunfight, the man was struck several times in the lower body. No workers at the resort or guests were injured.

Miami-Dade’s police director said Oddi removed a flag from the back of the property and entered the lobby shouting “anti-Trump rhetoric,” later shooting into the ceiling and chandeliers as officer rushed in. Five officers fired and Oddi suffered multiple gunshot wounds to the legs. Doral mayor J.C. Bermudez said authorities do not believe the shooting was terrorism related. The shooting unfolded at the sprawling West Miami-Dade resort, which was bought by the Trump Organization in 2012 and used to host the popular World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship. The President’s son, Eric Trump, tweeted his appreciation to the police departments involved in the shootout.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Records Show TX Shooter Was ‘Ticking Time Bomb’

Newly released records on Devin Kelley, who killed 26 in a Texas church, depict him as an incompetent airman who tried to project an image as a God-fearing, aspiring family man even as his ferocious temper and a compulsion toward brutality were apparent to the Air Force.

Five years before Air Force veteran Devin Kelley burst into a church in Sutherland Springs, Tx., last fall with a legally purchased semiautomatic rifle and gunned down 26 people, he recorded a tearful confession. “I am making this documentary, so everybody knows,” Kelley said in 2012, describing how he pushed and struck his toddler stepson so hard, he fractured the child’s collarbone and caused bleeding on the brain. “This is not the last mistake, and there’s probably plenty to come, unfortunately,” said Kelley, who died after being pursued following the November shooting, the Wall Street Journal reports.  The shocking massacre raised questions about how a man with such a publicly known troubled past was able to buy deadly weapons. The transcript of the confession, among court-martial records newly released by the Justice Department, paint an even more frightening portrait of Kelley, showing an incompetent airman who tried to project an image as a God-fearing, aspiring family man even as his ferocious temper and a compulsion toward brutality were apparent to the Air Force.

In 2012, Kelley pleaded guilty at his court martial, received a bad-conduct discharge and spent a year behind bars. Air Force officials have admitted failing to notify the FBI’s firearm-screening database about Kelley’s conviction for domestic violence, which should have automatically banned him from possessing weapons. The lapse allowed him to purchase a Ruger AR-556 rifle that he used during his rampage. The Air Force has been reviewing court martial records going back to 2002 in search of other domestic abuse cases that weren’t properly reported to the FBI. Records show that Kelley’s superiors saw him as a ticking bomb who needed to be locked up to prevent bloodshed. “I am convinced that he is dangerous and likely to harm someone if released,” wrote Maj. Nathan McLeod-Hughes in 2012.

from https://thecrimereport.org