The Profile of an Active Shooter

Reports of mass shootings pop up in our newsfeeds almost daily, and there is no thought more horrifying than coming face to face with an active shooter at your school or place of business. School administration officials and business owners alike are scrambling to ensure proper security measures are in place while also training their students and employees, while also watching closely to identify any mental health issues. Some executives have already interviewed their employees in an attempt to detect who might become the next perpetrator.

Unfortunately, there is not an exact, reliable profile of an active shooter that you can use to determine who will pick up a gun and start shooting. But, there are some common signs and characteristics shared by past active shooters. Knowing what to watch out for could help you identify someone planning an active shooter incident – potentially saving your students, employees, and self from becoming the next victims.

Warning Signs and Characteristics You Shouldn’t Ignore

You simply cannot handpick an active shooter out of a crowd just by looking at them. The elements that make someone shoot other people are all internal. All you can do is understand what the triggers are and try to reduce their impacts.

For instance, nearly all shooters are male, but that does not mean you never see a female shooter. It does not matter if they are a man or a woman, if they show the following warning signs, you will want to pay close attention to them.

  • Sudden fascination with weapons
  • Declining performance
  • Mood changes

Active shooters rarely share the same single race, religion, age range, or class either. Active shooters come from all walks of life. What sets them apart from everyone else is what triggers their violent behavior.

Before committing their attack, active shooters often:

  • Feel bullied, threatened or persecuted by others
  • Suffer from depression with thoughts or attempts at suicide
  • Experience or perceive that they’ve experienced a major loss

They are not likely to hide how they feel either. Instead, their feelings are almost always out in the open for their friends and loved ones to see. On the other hand, they do not just wake up one morning and decide to kill people. Active shooters typically plan out their attacks, often months ahead of time.

Thus, the profile of an active shooter includes motives such as:

  • Revenge
  • Solving problems
  • Suicide attempt
  • Seeking attention and recognition

Protect Yourself with Knowledge and Training

While you cannot be sure when a disgruntled person will start shooting people, there are ways you can protect yourself and your employees. You can take a proactive approach and train your staff on the warning signs and what to do when they see an active shooter. You can also prepare policies and procedures to follow when these unfortunate incidents occur. While the signs are not subtle, potential attackers will only tell their friends what they have planned. Thus, corporate security training will give everyone in your organization the tools they need to act quickly when these conversations happen.

You will want to be sure that you can keep everyone safe should an active shooter event occur. Consider active protection for key personnel and areas where shooters are known to strike first. USSS bodyguards and licensed security guards are well-trained in high-security situations and know the warning signs of potential threats. We are well-equipped to not only train your employees on how to handle an active shooter event, but we also can offer security protection services for your school or business.

Contact us to learn more about the profile of an active shooter and how we can help you be prepared should an active shooting incident occur.