The Secret Service analyzed 173 mass casualty attacks. Here’s what they found.


Nearly three-quarters of perpetrators used guns to cause large-scale casualties between 2016 and 2020, according to a federal government study released Wednesday.

More than a third of attackers experienced precarious residence within 20 years of the attack. About a quarter also shared their “final communications” leading up to launch, such as calling people to say goodbye, writing a suicide note, or posting a manifesto online.

A 72-page report produced by the U.S. Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center analyzes 173 incidents in which three or more people were injured or killed in public or semi-public places such as businesses, schools and places of worship. . Researchers hope that new insights into attacker behavior will inform bystander reports, thereby preventing future tragedies.

The findings span 37 states and Washington, DC, and are lamenting in the community of Monterey Park, California. 11 deaths Seven people were killed in less than two days after gunmen opened fire in a ballroom over the weekend during the Chinese New Year celebrations. killed Mass shootings at two mushroom farms in Half Moon Bay, Northern California.

there were three fatally shot Wednesday in an attack at a convenience store in Yakima, Washington.

US crime shooting
People stay up all night by candlelight to pay tribute to the victims of the January 24, 2023 mass shooting in Monterey Park, California. The shooting killed him 11 people.

Frederick J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Nina Alatari, Chief of the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, said: “But there are commonalities that can help prevent it.”

The main points are:

(1) Nearly three-quarters of the attacks were carried out using firearms.

Attackers in 73% of mass casualty incidents used one or more firearms to kill or maim victims.

“In terms of fatalities by weapon type, more than 80% of incidents involving firearms were fatal. For other weapons, less than half died. [the incidents] There have been deaths,” Aratari said.

About three-quarters of the attackers used handguns and about one-third used long guns.

As one prominent example, the report cites a 38-year-old man from Kansas. killed three people Fourteen people were injured in a 2016 shooting while under the influence of methamphetamine. I fired. The attacker obtained the pistol and rifle used in the attack from another ex-girlfriend about six months before the incident.

Nearly a quarter of the attacks involved at least one firearm that the attacker obtained illegally, including those purchased through straw purchases, theft, private sales, and online parts.

Researchers were able to pinpoint the timing of gun acquisition only in 50 cases of attack. 3 cases were obtained on the same day as the attack.

(2) Say goodbye: Nearly a quarter of attackers shared a “final communication.”

Nearly a third (28%) of the 180 attackers made a final contact or act that suggested an attack was imminent. This includes creating a breakup video, journal, or manifesto detailing your plans and motivations. Some called friends and family goodbye, left suicide notes, and wrote cryptic messages stating that they would never see each other again.

According to the report, “ultimate actions included attackers canceling rental agreements, transferring personal property, stopping pet food purchases, reviewing or changing life insurance policies, and securing family finances.” It was part of the plan,” he said.

Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, took his own life in downtown Nashville, injuring three others, before detonating explosives in his RV on Christmas Day. and told the client that he was retiring. A few days before the bombing, he gave his car to his friend. Hours before the attack, he broadcast an announcement from the RV warning nearby pedestrians of an impending explosion, eventually counting down.

In 33 of the attacks, the perpetrators made statements or engaged in previous behavior that indicated they did not intend to survive the attack. Of them, 18 attackers died by suicide: 2 counted the shots and saved the last bullet for themselves.

(3) Nearly all attackers experienced one or more significant stressors within five years of their attack.

Approximately 93% of attackers were dealing with personal issues ranging from health issues to divorce, domestic violence, car accidents, expulsion, workplace disciplinary action, cyberbullying, and more. .

For 139 attackers (77%), the stressor occurred within one year of the mass casualty event. 72% of his attackers clearly experienced a financial stressor prior to the attack.

Of the 180 attackers analyzed, the researchers found that 39% experienced precarious residence within 20 years of the attack. This includes 17% of whom were experiencing homelessness at the time of the attack, and three of his perpetrators who targeted other members of the homeless population.

In the United States, homeless numbers are calculated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The department counts people on the streets and in homeless shelters each December. In 2022, that number was 582,462.

Just over a third of attackers have a history of using illegal drugs, misusing prescription drugs, or abusing substances such as alcohol or marijuana, and “have faced criminal liability, professional or academic It often resulted in negative consequences such as failure, court-ordered programs, and evictions,” the report said.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 61.2 million people Whole country Over the age of 12 (22% of the US population) had used an illicit drug in the past year, and 9.2 million had abused opioids.

Nearly a third of the attackers detailed in Secret Service research are domestic violence (23%), violent crimes (23%) and non-violent crimes (22%).

(4) More than half of the attackers experienced mental health symptoms before or during the attack.

“The vast majority of individuals in the United States who experience discussed mental health problems … have not committed criminal or violent acts,” the report notes. , constitutes an underlying factor and should not be viewed as a causal explanation for why the attack occurred.”

Symptoms seen in 58% of attackers included depression, psychotic symptoms, and suicidal ideation.

“The age of onset of symptoms varies, with some aggressors first experiencing symptoms during adolescence and others having symptoms begin later in life,” the report read.

Statistical squares with national estimates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than half of the US population will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their lives.

“Mental health symptoms alone don’t correlate with violent behavior,” Dr. Alatari said. “In fact, the majority of people in this country with mental health problems never become violent.” No, but in the context of assessing individuals who might come to our attention to elicit concern, this is an important factor to consider.”

About a third of the attackers had received some form of prior mental health treatment, according to the report, but that treatment was “variable and often unsustainable.”

(5) More than half of the attackers were motivated by complaints and wanted retaliation for being perceived as wrong.

Complaints were most often related to personal stress related to health, finances, bullying, or the victim’s emotions, whereas 17% of complaints were related to current or former domestic relationship problems. , and 10% were work-related.

Analysts conclude that “Complaints remain the most prevalent motivator for large-scale attackers from 2016 to 2020.”

Attackers ranged in age from 14 to 87, with an average age of 34, but nearly all (96%) of the 180 attackers in the report were male.

(6) A quarter of attackers supported conspiracy theories or hateful ideologies.

These belief systems included anti-government, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic views, among others.

At least 35 attackers (19%) exhibited misogynistic behavior prior to the attack. Examples include sexual harassment, threats of sexual violence, and calling women derogatory names.

Conspiracy theories observed among the attackers include: “Moon landing was government engineered, Jews trying to take over the world, Aliens and lizard people trying to take over, China It included erroneous beliefs such as “People of the family are responsible for the spread of infection.” “Coronavirus, and the United Nations, were plotting to disarm American citizens,” the report said.

At least six attackers radicalized their beliefs through their online engagement, but nearly two-thirds of the 180 attackers had an identified online presence and blogs and social media posts. There were also some

According to the report, “nearly a quarter of people have posted posts that mention threats of harm to others, suicidal thoughts, previous mass shootings, violent content, or hatred of specific ethnic groups. , was found to have communicated regarding online communications.”

(7) three-quarters of attackers indicated attention-seeking behaviors of family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, etc.;

NTAC researchers found that nearly two-thirds of 180 attackers exhibited behavior that was “objectively concerning or prohibited” or shared communications that “should have been addressed immediately” I decided that I did.

Nearly half (49%) of these attackers reported offensive behavior, including communications such as threats of harm to others, threats of domestic violence, mentions of imminent attack, and stories of making or acquiring weapons. It’s about communication and the behavior of sharing direct threats.

The study found that “half of the attacks involved the location of the business, and the attackers were often previously associated with the business as a current or former employee or customer.”

Analysts believe community members will be involved in active bystander reporting to “identify, assess, and intervene in current employees, former employees, and customers who may pose a risk of violence.” He stressed the need to urge businesses to “consider establishing workplace violence prevention plans.”

More than 21,000 organizations, including schools, places of worship, businesses, law enforcement, and even sports leagues like the NBA and MLB, have signed up for virtual training published by the Secret Service, according to Alathari.

Wednesday’s report did not mention this week’s shootings, but Alatari said the incident “has affected” her team.

“We want to make sure the community has access to this information that the Secret Service is making public,” Alatari added. “We have the science. We have the guidance. To prevent future horrific acts of violence. I want people to use it.”

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

For more information on mental health care resources and support, call The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) helpline, Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, at 1-800- 950-NAMI (6264)) or email


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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