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Profiling A Mass Shooter

October 2, 2017 1:33 p.m.

Profiling A Mass Shooter

GUEST:

Reid Meloy, forensic psychologist

Related Story: Gunman Who Killed More Than 50 At Las Vegas Concert Was Retired

Transcript:

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

THE MOTIVE BEHIND THE SHOOTING IN LAS VEGAS CONTINUES TO BAFFLE INVESTIGATORS . USUALLY PLAYS QUICKLY HAVE SOME KIND OF IDEA WHAT WAS BEHIND AN INCIDENT LIKE THIS. THERE IS NO INDICATION SO FAR WHAT SPARKED THIS TRAGIC EVENT . I AM JOINED BY DOCTOR REED MALLOY A BOARD CERTIFIED FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST TO CONSULTANT THE BEHAVIORAL ANALYSIS UNIT OF THE FBI AND HIS MOST RECENT BOOK IS THE INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF THREAT ASSESSMENT . WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU MAUREEN GOOD TO BE HERE .

WHAT WE ARE HEARING SO FAR IS THAT THE SHOOTER IN THIS CASE IS A 64-YEAR-OLD WHITE MAN WHO DOES NOT SEEM TO HAVE BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME . THERE IS NOT MUCH MORE THAT THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN MADE AWARE OF . WHAT KIND OF INFORMATION WOULD YOU BE LOOKING FOR TO BEGIN SOME SORT OF PROFILE?

ONE OF THE THINGS WE LOOKED AT WAS DEMOGRAPHICS . IT'S UNUSUAL FOR INDIVIDUALS TO COMMIT MASS MURDER . TYPICALLY THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE MALES IN THEIR 20s OR EARLY 30s BUT IT'S NOT UNHEARD OF . THERE WAS A CASE AND ATTACK ON THE HOLOCAUST MUSEUM IN WASHINGTON WITH THE INDIVIDUAL WAS 80 YEARS OLD . THE PLANNED PARENTHOOD ATTACKER WAS IN HIS 50s, THE OLDER AGE IS UNUSUAL BUT IS WHAT -- WHAT IS REALLY STRIKING IF THERE IS NO HISTORY OF ANY ENCOUNTER WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT BECAUSE TYPICALLY YOU DO SEE THAT IN THE BACKGROUND OF THESE INDIVIDUALS .

WANT TO EXPAND UPON WHAT YOU JUST SAID BECAUSE IT DOES SEEM AS IF WE ARE SEEING PEOPLE WHO ARE OLDER, OLDER MEN, I'M THINKING OF THE SHOOTING AT THE CONGRESSIONAL BASEBALL FIELD EARLY THIS YEAR, NOT A YOUNG MAN THERE EITHER, ONLY SAY MORE THAT?

I CAN'T SAY WITH SEEING MORE BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY TREND ESTABLISHED BUT WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNIZE IS THAT YOU CAN HAVE SOMEBODY WHO'S PLANNING AND PREPARING FOR AN ACT LIKE THIS THAT MAY GIVE US SOME WARNING SIGNS OR WARNING BEHAVIORS AND JUST BECAUSE THEY TEND TO BE OLDER DOES NOT MEAN WE SHOULDN'T PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR SUSPICIOUS OR ODD CONCERNING BEHAVIOR .

BASED ON WHAT YOU KNOW HOW MUCH PLANNING WHAT YOU SAY WENT INTO THE COMMISSION OF THIS SHOOTING?

FROM THE LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT THAT WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL BECAUSE IN THE EARLY STAGES OF AN EVENT SUCH AS THIS A LOT OF TIME THERE IS MISS INFORMATION, BUT IT APPEARS THAT HE DID COMMUNITY WEAPONS AND BROUGHT THEM TO THE HOTEL ROOM IN LAS VEGAS AND THAT KIND OF PREPARATION MEANS THAT THIS WAS AN ACT THAT WAS NOT IMPULSIVE, IT WAS LIKELY SOMETHING HE THOUGHT ABOUT FOR A PERIOD OF TIME AND PROBABLY PLANT OVER A PERIOD OF TIME AND THAT IS ALSO TYPICAL OF WHAT WE SEE IN INDIVIDUALS THAT COMMIT MASS MURDER .

LAS VEGAS LAW ENFORCEMENT HAS HAD THE SHOOTING DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE CONNECTED TO ISIS . IS THAT DETERMINATION BASED ON THE MAN'S AT THE CITY, HIS RELIGION, HIS AGE? HOW DO THEY DETERMINE THAT?

THE BRIEF BACKGROUND I KNOW ABOUT THAT IS THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE SO FAR GIVEN INVESTIGATIONS PROBABLY MOSTLY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL OF THERE BEING ANY CONNECTION BETWEEN THIS INDIVIDUAL AND ISIS . MOST OF THAT INVESTIGATION WILL BE DONE BY THE FBI AND BY THE COUNTERTERRORISM CENTER. HOWEVER WE NEED ALSO TO KEEP THE DOOR OPEN THAT THERE MAY HAVE BEEN A LEVEL OF INSPIRATION BY A RADICALIZED IDEOLOGY EITHER FROM THE EXTREME RIGHT OR THE EXTREME LEFT OR PERHAPS EXTREMIST RELIGIOUS GROUP . I THINK THAT THE OPENNESS OF IDEOLOGICAL MOTIVATION IS VERY IMPORTANT . WITHOUT MOVING TO A POSITION OF SAYING THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL ACTUALLY WAS A TERRORIST IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY OTHER INFORMATION . THAT IS SOMETHING TO WATCH OUT CAREFULLY FOR . THE STIMULUS FOR THE DENIAL OF ANY TERRORIST LINK WAS THE FACT THAT ICES HAVE COME FORWARD VERY QUICKLY TO CLAIM THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL WAS A SOLDIER FOR ICES WHICH IS PROBABLY MORE TIED TO THE LOSS OF TERRITORY IN SYRIA AND THEY DECIDED TO GRAB ONTO ANY ACT OF MASS MURDER AND CLAIM IT AS THEIR OWN AS A WAY TO MAKE A POLITICAL STATEMENT THAT THEY STILL WIELD SOME LEVEL OF POWER .

I'M SPEAKING WITH A FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST DOCTOR REED AND THERE ARE REPORTS THE SHOOTER HAS RECENT LARGE GAMBLING TRANSACTIONS IN LAS VEGAS . ACCORDING TO A NEWS REPORT A FORMER NEIGHBOR SAYS THE SHOOTER USED TO DESCRIBE HIMSELF AS A GAMBLER . HOW WOULD YOU FACTOR THAT INTO THIS KIND OF INFORMATION?

FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SEDATING EVENT OR A TRIGGERING EVENT THAT A SCENE IN AT LEAST 80% OF THESE CASES THERE IS TYPICALLY -- AND THIS APPLIES NOT ONLY TO NON-IDEOLOGICAL CASES OF MASS MURDER BUT ALSO TERRORIST CASES -- YOU TO GET A PRECIPITATING EVENT THAT OFTENTIMES INVOLVES A LOSS AND ONE OF HUMILIATION, TYPICALLY IT STIMULATES A LOT OF ANGER AND THERE IS THEN A BLAMING OF SOMEBODY ELSE OR SOMETHING ELSE . SO THESE EVENTS OFTEN TIMES THE CLOCK STARTS WITH THIS KIND OF LOSS . SO AN IMPORTANT THING WE WILL BE ABLE TO LOOK AT WOULD BE ANY KIND OF LOSS THIS INDIVIDUAL HAS SUFFERED . TO DELETE THE LOSS IS IN WORK OR LOVE . YOU CAN SEE IT EITHER RELATIONSHIP-BASED OCCUPATIONALLY BASED . IT WILL BE VERY IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT ANY KIND PRECIPITATING EVENT THAT HAS OCCURRED IN THE DAYS OR WEEKS OR SOMETIMES EVEN HOURS BEFORE THE EVENT ACTUALLY OCCURRED . THAT IS NOT TO SAY THAT THE PLAN AS AN OPTION AS A CHOICE HAS NOT BEEN IN THIS INDIVIDUALS MIND FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME . BUT SOMETIMES THE LOSS IS WATER THEN STARTS THE CLOCK AND THERE IS A PARTICULAR DAY AND DATE AND TIME AND EVENT THAT IS THEN CARRIED OUT .

LAST YOU ON THE SHOW HE TALKED ABOUT THE SPONSOR DUTY OF INDIVIDUALS TO SPEAK UP WHEN THEY SEE WARNING SIGNS . WHAT MIGHT SOME OF THE WARNING SIGNS HAVE BEEN IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS?

THE MOST COMMON ONE THAT IS SEEN IN CASES LIKE THIS IS WHAT WE CALL LEAKAGE . THAT IS WHERE THIS COMMUNICATION TO THIRD-PARTY OF INTENT TO MOUNT AN ATTACK . AND IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES OF MASS MURDER AN INDIVIDUAL WILL LEAK THEIR INTENT TO THIRD-PARTY . TYPICALLY TO A CLOSE FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER, SECONDARILY TO SOMEBODY IN THE WORKPLACE AND IT'S VERY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE TO NOT DISCOUNT OR DIMINISH THESE TYPES OF STATEMENTS WHEN THEY HEAR THEM. THE COMMON RESPONSE IS OFTEN TO SAY WELL I JUST REALLY WAS GETTING, I DIDN'T NOTICE ANYTHING ABOUT THAT . AND PEOPLE TYPICALLY DON'T SAY ANYTHING BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT TO GET SOMEBODY INTO TROUBLE . BUT I THINK GIVEN THE TIMES WE LIVE IN IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT IF YOU SEE OR HEAR ANYTHING THAT IS CONCERNING, ANY KIND OF ANOMALOUS BEHAVIOR THAT RAISES YOUR SUSPICIONS IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO REPORT THAT TO LAW ENFORCEMENT . SO AT LEAST IT CAN BE CHECKED ON AND INVESTIGATED .

I'VE BEEN SPEAKING WITH FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST DOCTOR REED MALLOY HIS MOST RECENT BOOK IS THE INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF THREAT ASSESSMENT. THANK YOU SO MUCH.

YOU -- THANK YOU MAUREEN .