We see it on the news about everyday. Somewhere an active shooter or shooters have taken more innocent lives. But what is an active shooter? It is defined as one or more subjects engaged in a random or systematic shooting spree, with the intent to continuously harm others. As opposed to criminal conduct, such as robbery or hostage, killing being their objective.
Usually the active shooter is spontaneous, they give little or no warning as to what they are about to do. However, recently we are seeing more and more shooters talk about what they plan to do on social media. Law enforcement are monitoring these sites and in some cases have stopped the shooter before he or she acts.
There are no specific profiles for the active shooter. Many times the suspect is depressed, angry and often suicidal. These are broken people who want to get even or punish others for how life has been so unfair to them. Or the shooter may be politically motivated. In either case they will pick target rich or highly populated, soft target (no gun zones) environments. Negotiation does NOT work. The average age for a school shooter is 14.5 years.
There is no specific profile for an active shooter. On February 29, 2000, a 6 year old boy near Flint, Michigan, found a 32 caliber handgun in his uncles bedroom. He took the gun to school and shot another student at point blank range. He is believed to be the youngest active shooter in history.
Types of Active Shooters
Rampage shooter is also known as a spree killer or sometimes “In a frenzy”. Rampage killers usually attempt to kill multiple persons in a public, target rich environment. This type of shooter usually acts alone and is mad at the world. They most likely will not have a previous history of violence and will kill anyone they come in contact with. The Rampage shooter will target large groups in a soft target area.
The workplace shooter is one that is upset with his or her workplace. This may involve co-workers or supervisors. The individual may have been fired or suspended and they are looking for revenge. They will return to the workplace and start shooting people at random or they may seek out specific individuals. In some cases they are very successful in carrying out their objective due to the fact that they know the layout of the workplace, as well as the company policy’s concerning safety.
A school shooter is an individual or individuals who attack an educational institution, such as a school or university. According to national studies, factors behind school shootings include family dysfunction, lack of family supervision, and mental illness. First reported school shooting in what is now the U.S. took place in the 1700s when four Lenape Indians entered a schoolhouse in what is now Greencastle, Pa., and killed the schoolmaster and as many as 10 children.
A terrorist is a person who uses terrorism in the pursuit of political aims. They usually will seek out soft targets that have large number of potential victims. They strive for large kill rates to achieve international attention.
Average time for Active Shooter Incident 12 min
37% last less than 5 minutes
49% of attackers committed suicide
34% were arrested
17% were killed
51% of attacks occur in workplace
17% occur in schools
17% occur in public places
2% of incidents involve IEDs
10% shooter stopped and walked away
20% shooter went mobile
43% of time crime was over when police arrived
49% of time attack ended before police arrived
56% of attacks ended by police killing attacker
Although there is no one demographic profile of an active shooter, many may reflect observable pre-attack behaviors, which if recognized, allow for disruption of an attack.
Many active shooters occurs when an individual has a real or perceived issue that has not been dealt with. In many cases the individual will dwell on this issue and eventually plans an attack. Bystanders typically have the greatest opportunity for recognizing and identifying a potential active shooter prior to the planned attack.