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Sheriff: Gunman Appeared To Target Some Victims At Rail Yard

 May 27, 2021 at 10:36 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Investigators are trying to piece together a possible motive for yesterday's mass shooting in San Jose, a man killed nine people at his workplace, a light rail facility for the valley transportation authority. When law enforcement arrived, the gunman killed himself. How do we prevent mass shootings? Like yesterday's in San Jose, joining us to discuss that is Dr. Garren Winton mute director of the violence research prevention program at UC Davis school of medicine. Dr. Went to mute. Speaker 2: 00:29 Welcome. Thanks for having me. So the Speaker 1: 00:31 Ex wife of the man who carried out the shooting said, he talked about killing people at work more than a decade ago, but she didn't take him seriously. What advice do you have for people in terms of recognizing and reporting that kind of behavior? I Speaker 3: 00:46 Have some old new advice. If you see or hear something, say something 10 years ago, we did not have gun violence, restraining orders here in California. Now we do, and our group published some research, looking at their use in preventing mass shootings, precisely this sort of scenario, angry person says I'm going to shoot up my workplace and a gun violence restraining order is obtained. Firearms are recovered or in one case that I can recall purchases of firearms get blocked. We have 21 cases in which people threatened to commit a mass shooting and gun violence. Restraining orders were used. None of those 21 threats turned into an actual mass shooter Speaker 1: 01:35 And threats. What other types of behaviors though, should people be looking out for? Speaker 3: 01:39 Well, 80% of people who commit mass shootings in some way, declare their intent in advance. They may say something they may post on social media, et cetera. There is the other 20%. And in our series are a couple of cases in which there was a very suspicious pattern of behavior, but no threat was made in terms Speaker 1: 02:07 Of those gun violence, restraining orders. You mentioned I've read that some counties use them more than others. Can you talk a bit more about that? Yes. Local Speaker 3: 02:16 Champions make all the difference. Um, San Diego has frankly led the rest of the state in implementing this policy. The credit for that goes to a lot of people, but in particular to the San Diego city attorney's office and to the city attorney, Ms. Mara Elliott, that agency made it a priority. When this policy came online to study it, understand it, use it when appropriate. Um, and we're in the process of, uh, with their cooperation of evaluating the impact of what they've done, Speaker 1: 02:49 What can be done to make other counties use those gun violence, restraining orders. You mentioned, Speaker 3: 02:55 Well, we can't make them. Our society doesn't work way, but we can, we can overcome, overcome barriers and create some incentives. So it's, it's a new kind of law to some extent and counties, um, have been concerned about it. Are we going to get it right? Um, it takes time. Counties have been concerned about how do we do this along with everything else that we do. So training is available. Um, San Diego actually got money from the state of California to provide training to city attorneys and other counties, but law enforcement agencies also need to know about this officers on patrol, um, need to know about how this works. So there's a lot more training to be done. Um, and following these cases through court consumes resources. So I think the state could provide financial incentives to at least to remove the barrier, not incentives to do it, but they could remove the barriers. Speaker 3: 03:54 The other thing is that while law enforcement and city attorneys are often the ones in court, the information that gets them there comes from the public most of the time. And there needs to be much more public awareness that this is available and that to circle back. Um, if I hear something or see something that's suspicious, I can call the cops and they can do something about it. We actually have a study coming out next week, showing that the public here in California is largely not aware of the existence of GVR arrows, but when we explain it to them, they say, well, this is a great idea. Sure. I'd be happy to do this. If the circumstances are ropes. And you know, I, I'm Speaker 1: 04:39 Curious, you know, because we, we have this same conversation every time there is a mass shooting, where do you think the conversation needs to go now to prevent these from happening? You need Speaker 3: 04:51 To keep a couple of things in mind. Um, first we want to create policies to prevent the next event. That's exactly like the tragedy that occurred yesterday, because they're all different. We need policies. We need social, uh, habits of action that apply more broadly. So gun violence, restraining orders are certainly, um, one way to go. This particular case, I understand now involves, um, some advanced preparation. There were 11 loaded, uh, magazines on the shooter when his body was recovered. We haven't heard yet about how big those magazines were. Uh, but one thing that California, uh, is seeking to do is to outlaw the possession of high capacity ammunition magazines. We also have just launched in the last couple of years, a policy to regulate purchases of ammunition, largely in the way we regulate and firearms. So we might, for example, pay particular attention on the law enforcement side to somebody who's maybe making some threats and also buying large amounts of ammunition. And, Speaker 1: 06:09 You know, our local agencies effective at tracking, uh, these types of weapons Speaker 3: 06:15 In order to track weapons, there has to be a reason, um, for a law enforcement agency. So they have to be investigating a case. So, uh, but it's such an instance that gave rise to a gun violence restraining orders in part in California, um, a person who was making threats and was buying lots of firearms. The local agency did not look didn't recognize that pattern of behavior. So when they went and talked to him, they, they perhaps didn't pursue the matter quite as aggressively as they would in hindsight, because he went on to commit a mass killing using those, um, firearms. But it is the case that you're in California. If law enforcement has reason to be concerned that a person might be plotting, whether it's a mass killing or homicide, uh, they can access data and, uh, maintained by the justice department and learn about their purchasing of firearms and ammunition. Speaker 1: 07:16 You know, this shooting was at a workplace. What can workplaces do to educate employees about the potential for violence? Well, th Speaker 3: 07:23 They could do at the workplace level, everything that we've just talked about, educate their employees to the importance of, um, reporting on a threat or a pattern of suspicious behavior. There are specific circumstances now in which colleagues in the workplace can file a petition and request a gun violence restraining order themselves. They don't have to go through law enforcement. Um, I suspect to be honest, that most of the time colleagues, coworkers will want to go through law enforcement anyway. Um, so the major objective is to get them aware that this is something they can do. Speaker 1: 08:03 I've been speaking to Dr. Garren, went to mute director of the violence research prevention program at UC Davis school of medicine. Dr. Went to meet. Thank you so much. Thanks again for having me.

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A California sheriff says a gunman who killed nine people in a rail yard massacre had fired 39 shots and appeared to target some of the victims.
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