Dayton shooting prominent in Secret Service Mass Attack Threat Assessment

Ohio

Mourners light candles as they participate in a vigil at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A masked gunman in body armor opened fire early Sunday in the popular entertainment district in Dayton, killing several people, including his sister, and wounding dozens before he was quickly slain by police, officials said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON D.C. (WDTN) – The Oregon District shooting played a prominent role in the latest U.S. Secret Service Threat Assessment on Mass Attacks, which was embargoed until Thursday.

The release of the assessment, which analyzed mass attacks and shootings during 2019, will be accompanied by a virtual training rollout hosted by the Secret Service at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Speakers will include Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl, Secret Service Director James Murray, Texas Governor Greg Abbott along with several Congressmen and National Threat Assessment Center specialists.

The report listed several key findings:

  • The attacks impacted a variety of locations including businesses/workplaces, schools, houses of worship, military bases, open spaces residential complexes and a commercial buys service.
  • Most of the attackers used firearms, many of those were possessed illegally.
  • Many attackers experienced unemployment, substance use or abuse, mental health symptoms of recent stressful life events.
  • Attackers often had a history of prior criminal charges or arrests including domestic violence
  • Most attackers exhibited behavior that elicited concern in family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers and in many cases fear for their own safety or others.

The Oregon District attack was referenced several times in the report. The shooting was the shortest last year in duration, as most of the attacks that occurred in 2019. Forty-seven percent of the attacks lasted 5 minutes or less, with the longest involving a 47-year-old male and a 50-year-old female, who attacked a kosher market and had a three-hour standoff with police.

“Consistent with previous studies on targeted violence, the attacks in this study were frequently short in duration,” the study stated. “For example, one attack targeting (the Oregon District) lasted 32 seconds, yet still resulted in nine individuals killed and 20 more injured. Just under half (47 percent) of the attacks in 2019 ended within five minutes when the incident was initiated. However, one-third of the attacks in 2019 lasted 15 minutes or more, a larger percentage than those in 2017 and 2018.”

Duration of Mass Attacks by Duration for 2017-2019

Two-thirds of attackers engaged in prior threatening or concerning communication, including the Oregon District shooter.

“The (Oregon District) attacker had a history of concerning communications, including harassing female students in middle and high school, making a hit list and a rape list in high school, telling others he had attempted suicide and showing footage of a mass shooting to his girlfriend. Months before the attack, he went to bars and would tell his friends he could have ‘done some damage’ there,” according to the report.

Forty-six percent of mass attackers had a history of using illicit drugs or misusing prescription medications, including the Oregon District shooter.

“Friends (of the Oregon District Shooter) reported the attacker regularly used amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine and LSD for at least five years leading up to the attack,” according to the report. “The attacker was found to have had Xanax and cocaine in his system at the time of the shooting. He also had a history of assaulting women he dated.”

Shooters often used illegal drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD, ecstasy and misused prescription medication like Xanax, Adderall, Vyvanse. Forty-one percent of shooters had substance or alcohol issues to the point it caused negative consequences in their lives, including criminal charges, academic issues, treatment ordered by a court or eviction from their residence.

Attack Motives

Motives for mass attacks ran the gamut from personal grievances to ideological issues, racial bias and mental health issues. Some had previous obsessions with mass shooters and others had fixations on romantic interests.

Mental health issues were also prominent among mass attackers. As well as racist beliefs and ideological issues with the government. The study cited the “chan” websites and social media as frequent means of attackers to air grievances.

Mass attackers often exhibited mental health issues, according to the National Threat Assessment.

Click here to read the full Secret Service Threat Assessment.

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