A Secret Service report analyzes people who commit mass shootings

The U.S. Secret Service just released a report after analyzing more than 170 mass shooting incidents that killed at least three people. Researchers are hoping the detailed information can somehow prevent deaths in the future.

Just three weeks into 2023, police have responded to 39 mass shootings across the country. On Monday, at least seven people were killed in California, when a 66-year-old man targeted people he worked with, shooting and killing them execution style.

“All the evidence we have points to this being workplace violence,” San Mateo County Sheriff Christina Corpus said.

According to the newly released Secret Service study, more than half of the attackers were motivated by some kind of grievance, and sought retaliation for perceived wrongdoings.

17% of the grievances were related to an issue with a current or former relationship, and 10% were connected to the workplace.

“We have unfinished business in our country to address gun violence, this workplace violence,” Democrat Representative Anna Eschoo of California said.

73% of the mass shooters used one or more firearms according to the study. And 28% of the attackers issued some final communication. Suggesting through a journal, writing, suicide note or cryptic message, that they were planning to act out violently.

93% of attackers were experiencing a personal crisis like domestic abuse, divorce or disciplinary actions at work. The study found 77% of their crisis incidents occurred within one year of the mass shooting, and 72% experienced financial hardships leading up to the murders.

Most of the attackers were white males, and nearly all have had a history of domestic violence. And over half of the attackers experienced a mental health breakdown prior to their attack.

“We’re looking at all criminal history, mental health history, and seeing if there’s anything, any gaps that we may have missed,” Sheriff Robert G. Luna of Los Angeles County said.

News4JAX spoke with a mental health expert about these warning signs of potential violence. They include, someone suddenly withdrawing from friends, excessive irritability, persistent thoughts of harming themselves or someone else and animal cruelty.

Experts say it’s more important not to ignore these behaviors or any direct threats made towards a person, place or themselves.

If you suspect an urgent threat, experts suggest you reach out to your local law enforcement agency. In cases involving behavior that is concerning but you don’t suspect an attack, mental health professionals, counselors and community leaders are your best option.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or suicidal crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.