A Study of the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States

A Study of the Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States: Between 2000 and 2013
June 2018 Report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Department of Justice

In 2017 there were 30 separate active shootings in the United States, the largest number ever recorded by the FBI during a one-year period. With so many attacks occurring, it can become easy to believe that nothing can stop an active shooter determined to commit violence. “The offender just snapped” and “There’s no way that anyone could have seen this coming” are common reactions that can fuel a collective sense of a “new normal,” one punctuated by a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. Faced with so many tragedies, society routinely wrestles with a fundamental question: can anything be done to prevent attacks on our loved ones, our children, our schools, our churches, concerts, and communities?

There is cause for hope because there is something that can be done… By articulating the concrete, observable pre-attack behaviors of many active shooters, the FBI hopes to make these warning signs more visible and easily identifiable. This information is intended to be used not only by law enforcement officials, mental health care practitioners, and threat assessment professionals, but also by parents, friends, teachers, employers and anyone who suspects that a person is moving towards violence.

Read the full study.