An examination of the individual and contextual characteristics associated with active shooter events
Document Type Article
Published in: Open Access Journal of Forensic Psychology, vol. 7, 2015.
In recent years, the US has experienced a substantial number of mass shooting incidents. This type of shooting incident has been termed “active shooter event” and encompasses shootings that occur in school settings as well as public settings and workplace venues. Much of the recent published literature addressing active shooter events appears to focus on tactical issues, such as training for and responding to this type of incident. Very little research, however, has examined the individual and contextual characteristics associated with active shooter events. In the current study we examine a number of factors related to 88 active shooting events involving 92 perpetrators. Our findings indicate a history of psychological and behavioral issues reported in more than 50% of the active shooters studied. In addition, 60% of shooters had evidence of additional stressors beyond those associated with psychological and behavioral issues. These findings highlight the need to continue to explore potential risk factors associated with this form of violence.