Most school shooters showed warning signs: Secret Service study
© Getty Images

A new study by the Secret Service found that the bulk of school attackers over the last decade showed a number of warning signs that largely went unreported before they carried out attacks.

The survey from the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) found that many attackers were absent, often through school suspension, prior to their attacks and most reported bullying or alienation from their peers. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The NTAC study looked at 41 attacks at schools between 2008 and 2017 with a variety of weapons, all of which were carried out by current or former students of the schools targeted. More than 75 percent of perpetrators carried out their attacks after an incident with another student in school.

“These are not sudden, impulsive acts where a student suddenly gets disgruntled,” NTAC Director Lina Alathari told The Associated Press. “The majority of these incidents are preventable.”

“It really is about a constellation of behaviors and factors,” she added.

Most shootings followed a similar pattern, according to the NTAC — they were often isolated to one location in the school, such as the cafeteria or gymnasium, and were over within minutes. In most cases, police failed to arrive before an attack ended.

The NTAC released a threat assessment last year that offers advice for law enforcement and school officials for preventing and recognizing attacks before they occur. The research reported this week was begun after the 2017 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where more than a dozen students and faculty were killed in a mass shooting that sparked a nationwide movement against gun violence.

Updated: 5:24 p.m.