‘Impossible’ to Predict Mass Shooters, Expert Says

In the two deadliest shootings in the U.S. this year, the accused gunman displayed warning signs before his killing spree. Neither Nikolas Cruz in Florida nor Ian David Long in California were committed for treatment.

In the two deadliest shootings in the U.S. this year, the accused gunman displayed warning signs before his killing spree. Nikolas Cruz demonstrated an obsession with guns and was the subject of more than a dozen police visits at home before he went on a shooting rampage that left 17 dead at his former high school in Parkland, Fl.  Ian David Long, who authorities say burst into the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Ca., Wednesday and gunned down 12 people before taking his own life, was found to be “acting a little irrationally’’ when police visited his house in April. Yet Cruz and Long were both deemed not to be a danger to themselves or others, and they were neither committed for treatment nor forbidden from possessing weapons, USA Today reports.

Amid the grief over another mass shooting, there’s a sense of frustration over the failure to pick up on those cues. Mental health experts say that, in the absence of expressed credible threats, predicting violent behavior presents a significant challenge. “The ability to identify an individual’s first violent act is extraordinarily difficult – I would say it’s impossible,’’ said Steven Hoge, a forensic psychiatrist and clinical professor at Columbia University. Hoge warned against the common perception that the mental health system should identify dangerous people and get them off the streets. Even though they can begin the process of involuntary commitment when they determine someone to be dangerous, he said, the role of mental health professionals is to provide care.” Ventura County, Ca., Sheriff deputies had mental health specialists evaluate Long in April. They did not pursue further action.

from https://thecrimereport.org

FL Yoga Studio Killer Had Been Accused of Harassment

Scott Beierle, who was accused of killing two women and injuring five other people at a Tallahassee, Fl., yoga studio on Friday was the subject of previous complaints related to the harassment of young women. Beierle killed himself at the scene.

The man accused of killing two women and injuring five other people at a Tallahassee, Fl., yoga studio on Friday was the subject of previous complaints related to the harassment of young women, the Wall Street Journal reports. Scott Beierle posed as a customer at Hot Yoga Tallahassee before he took out a handgun and started shooting Friday afternoon, said the Tallahassee Police Department. Customers “fought the assailant to prevent him from harming themselves and others,” police said. Beierle then shot himself, and first responders found him dead on the scene.

Police described Beierle as a 40-year-old graduate of Florida State University and military veteran. He lived in Deltona, Fl., but was staying in a hotel in Tallahassee. Investigators were still trying to determine his motive and whether he had any connection to the victims or the yoga studio. Beierle appeared to have made a series of YouTube videos in 2014 in which he ranted against women and blacks. The YouTube account in question was terminated this weekend.  YouTube is typically alerted to troublesome content when users report it. A spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department said “multiple search warrants have been obtained on the assailant’s electronic devices and all social media profiles.” The police identified those killed as Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, 61, a faculty member at Florida State University’s College of Medicine, and Maura Binkley, a 21-year-old student at FSU. Four other women and a man suffered injuries that weren’t life-threatening.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Racial Motives Investigated in KY Grocery Shooting

Minutes before the man accused of gunning down two Kentucky shoppers walked into the grocery, he tried to enter a predominantly black church. That detail fueled speculation about the motives in the shooting in which Gregory Alan Bush has been charged. Bush, 51, is white. His two victims were black. A witness said the suspect told him that “whites don’t shoot whites.”

Minutes before the man accused of gunning down two shoppers at a Jeffersontown, Ky., Kroger walked into the grocery on Wednesday, he tried to enter a predominantly black church, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. That detail fueled questions and speculation about the motives in the shooting in which Gregory Alan Bush has been charged. Bush, 51, is white. Victims Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67, were black. A witness who said he encountered the suspect in the parking lot said the man told him that “whites don’t shoot whites.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the incident is being looked at as a possible hate crimes investigation.

Nicole Talbert, a sales manager whose father was a childhood friend of Stallard, said “there’s not a doubt in my mind this was racially motivated.” Sadiqa Reynolds, president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, supported investigating the incident as a hate crime. While acknowledging the suspect may have mental health issues, she said, “his (Facebook) posts, his comments, and his visit to First Baptist Jeffersontown lead us to express our concern.” Both Stallard and Jones were shot from behind and shot multiple times, said Jeffersontown Police Chief Sam Rogers. He said the shooter was only an “arm’s length” away from Jones when she was shot in the parking lot. Stallard was shot inside the store while shopping for poster board with his 12-year-old grandson, who fled outside. Bush is facing two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment. Authorities are investigating where Bush got the gun used in the shootings and whether Bush was allowed to have a weapon.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Accused KY Store Shooter Called Himself Schizophrenic

A man accused of shooting and killing two people at a Kentucky grocery store paints himself as mentally ill with paranoid schizophrenia. A Facebook page that appears to be
Gregory Bush’s says he is on disability because his “paranoid-schizophrenia finally stopped me from working.”

A man accused of shooting and killing two people Wednesday at a Kentucky grocery store paints himself as mentally ill with paranoid schizophrenia, according to a Facebook page that appears to be his, the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. Gregory Bush, 51, is facing two counts of murder and 10 counts of wanton endangerment following the public shooting that left one man dead inside the store and a woman slain in the parking lot. A Facebook page that appears to be Bush’s says he is on disability because his “paranoid-schizophrenia finally stopped me from working.” The page says, “I have worked most of my life and battled mental illness throughout my life.”

The Courier Journal said it had not been able to independently verify whether Bush wrote what is on the Facebook page, nor could it confirm whether Bush has any mental illness or is on any sort of disability. Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Bush allegedly walked into a Kroger store and “pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot (a man) in the rear of the head and again multiple times as he lay on the floor,” according to an arrest citation. Bush then allegedly re-holstered his weapon and walked out of the store. Outside, he reportedly drew his weapon again and shot and killed a woman in the parking lot.  Another shopper, who had a concealed weapon permit, then “challenged” Bush, and Bush began “firing wildly at the civilian throughout the parking lot.” Police arrested Bush at a nearby bank.

from https://thecrimereport.org

No Shootings in New York City All Weekend

There were no shootings in New York City last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, marking the first weekend free of shootings in at least a quarter-century. Mayor
Bill de Blasio says, “Isn’t that amazing?”

There were no shootings in New York City last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, marking the first weekend free of shootings in at least a quarter-century, the New York Post reports. “I really don’t remember a weekend that no one was shot in the entire city,” NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan, who has worked at the department since 1982. “It’s a different city.” Mayor Bill de Blasio told an NYPD graduating, “There was not a single shooting in all of New York City. Isn’t that amazing?”

The last shooting before to the recent streak occurred Thursday morning in Brooklyn, when a 25-year-old man was blasted in the stomach. The city’s safety streak was snapped by Monday afternoon, when a man was shot at around 1:15 p.m. The Bronx, authorities said. Police Commissioner James O’Neill added, “That’s something not just the NYPD, but . . . all New Yorkers [should] be proud of.” According to the latest NYPD crime figures, through Sunday, there have been 734 shootings so far in 2018, a 2.5 percent drop from the 753 at the same point in 2017.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Michigan Man Guilty of Shooting at Lost Teen

A white Michigan homeowner was convicted Friday of shooting at a lost black teenager who showed up at his door seeking directions to his school. The incident prompted accusations of racial bias.

In a case that attracted national attention and local outrage, a white Michigan homeowner was convicted Friday of shooting at a lost black teenager who showed up at his door seeking directions to his school, the Detroit News reports. Jeffrey Zeigler, 53, was found guilty by an Oakland County jury of assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony in the April 12 incident involving Brennan Walker, 14. He had been charged with assault with intent to commit murder, but Judge Wendy Potts gave jurors the option of convicting Zeigler on the lesser charge.

Defense attorney Rob Morad said the prosecution did not prove an intent to murder or kill Walker. “You had a couple who have had several breaking and enterings and were fearful. His wife’s screams put things in motion, but he loves her and was trying to protect her. I expect he wished he had done a lot of things differently. I know he wished he had never gone outside his house that morning.” The incident prompted accusations that it was racially motivated. Prosecutor Kelly Collins told the jury evidence indicates Walker, then a high school freshman, escaped fatal injury only because Zeigler was unable to immediately fire his 12-gauge Mossberg shotgun  because the safety was engaged. Morad told jurors his client was firing into the air, not to harm anyone, and trying to protect his wife. “If he wanted to kill him, he could have shot him on the porch,” Morad said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

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