WWL>Topics>>6-3-14 3:10pm Angela: on killing sprees

6-3-14 3:10pm Angela: on killing sprees

Jun 3, 2014|

Angela talks with FBI Special Agent in Charge Mike Anderson, fellow special agent Jeff Methvin, and social worker Maureen McDonough about what to do about killing sprees.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Well the killing spree at the University of California Santa Barbara that took six lives and hurt many more. Is yet another example of severe mental illness. Like Colin binding Aurora Colorado movie theater Virginia Tech and the new town elementary school. These massacres were thought out and horrific. It is madness with devastating results. What do we learn from them is there anyway to prevent these events. What do we look for what do we do if we noticed something as citizens. And more importantly as parents and teachers. We're here to discuss this is special agent in charge of the New Orleans office of the FBI Mike Anderson. And Jeff -- then special agent with the FBI out of the Baton Rouge office. And Maureen -- Social worker in the middle school who works with all kinds of teens and I'm so appreciative all three of you being here and I mean. So I'm gonna start out with. What -- Wheeler. Well and I can pipe in on Matt unfortunately we're seeing a these incidents are happening more frequently in the severity continues to increase. And so from our perspective and from Jeff's perspective is doing behavioral and allison's work for the FBI. The the silver lining is we do have more information. -- were -- to analyze why we get to this place. And we have also while we're looking at bat on the front end of the active shooter incidents. We continue to do a lot of training collaboration their partners in fact just last week we -- in Monroe Louisiana and we've now done. Seven or eight active shooter conferences covering all corners of the state Louisiana with FBI federal partners. Not state local sheriff's office. Police chiefs so we we continue to prepare. Unfortunately as we're talking right before we went one on the air here. These incidents keep happening. More frequently and and the severity and the consequences -- continue to be higher. What do you think we've learned. Well I would have to say that one of the most important things. Kind traitor to your opening there is no definitive link between mental health problems. And violent acts. There's a definitive link now R&R and a strategy to mitigate that threat but there is no direct link between mental health history and violent acts. And we have actually done programs -- that I'm glad your bringing it up and that in that way because certainly there many people in our community. Who have mental illnesses who are wonderful peaceful people and would never even think of it. But I think if we look back on those particular ones that I brought up. Surely we can see that there was a severe mental illness going on especially in this last one. They just happened to do a violent act. I I think we're also talking about another whole subject which we have again done programs on. And we'll hopefully do again about how we are addressing mental illness in this country. Right now our biggest. Mental hospitals or prisons and I think that's. Again another subject we're gonna pull back I appreciate what you're saying but. I'm gonna move on to a woman who. Works with young people all the time and has so certainly lived. That the news of these kinds of things and perhaps what you apart. What I've learned is that. My happy -- part about that that mental health continues to come into the forefront of the news coverage and that's getting more. Attention and more respect from the path and I am hoping that it continues to it making news may -- now infects. Drastic -- her awful ways but that we continue at that. That publicity that we need to make changes. Throughout the country in activists and California or Connecticut but now that that's exactly right and again. I I do -- -- respect -- -- -- And on and you're looking at it from a very clear point of view I'm looking at from a broader view because we've done so many stories on this. But focusing on what we're talking about here where you have these catastrophic. Horrific events. What's. What can we do to stop. What what can only do if we see something to stock it. Well one of the things that I do I'm I'm a coordinator for the national center for the analysis of violent called crime which is a part of our critical incident response group. And that particular entity. Houses are behavioral analysis unit and the behavioral analysis unit has to professionals. That the popular term for them is to profile hours. And in particular one unit handles these type of individuals these type of threat assessments. And so what happens is when when I receive a concern from a state or local law enforcement or other agents here the FBI about whether or not someone is a threat. That I can reach out to the professionals NBA you and then provide them with information and services liaison. Between the professionals -- BA you and the entity that has the person. Concern. Okay. So but prior to -- mean let's let's say I'm noticing. A neighbor. Not even somebody might damage just a neighbor. Who's having. When you doing unusual things. -- like called the FB kinda like called the police. What do I do. I would I would first of all called the the local authorities. And let them know what your concerns are and that would also depend on what your concern is her I can't give -- -- blanket response to that aren't answered that it would depend on exactly what type of behaviors are exhibiting -- exhibiting and you're observing. In your experience and doesn't have to be any of these cases but in your experience. What are things that people might be looking for. Well there are there are several indicators that we I think. Tend to suggest that that person needs to be assessed as to whether or not they are threat or are not a threat and I can go over a few when you if you line. One of the first ones is and I'm gonna say content surely inappropriate a few times and what that means is all of these in and -- themselves may not rise to a level. But when you take them in context or if they're not contractually appropriate then it could be an indicator first one. Would be recent acquisition of a firearm fascination with firearms or significant or unexplained increase in practice with farms. And that's something that's can actually inappropriate if it's appropriate according to context and it wouldn't be an issue. The second one would be someone and you may be -- -- comment on this this is a child bring in a firearm to school. And another one would be. And we noticed a lot of kids have stretchers they deal with stretchers and sometimes they respond to him and different way. And so when and when a child or young adult has a diminishing ability to cope with the stress. And it inability to perceive an alternative violence and that's key once took months someone realized this her or makes a determination and via a violent act. Is an appropriate response to a stress -- Then that's something that would indicate to us that there may need to be a threat assessment. One the other things we know this is an external position of the blame. Where they realize that -- there's faults in their life but it's not their fault it's because of this entity this person this institution. And or this group of people. And also a belief that they're being persecuted whether or not it's real or or not that type of belief that they are being persecuted can be an indicator. We look for any type of fascination. With previous mass shooting sort school shootings. Those. Content also suggest that we need to take a look and see why they're interest it and in these particular past incidences. We I have found out in a lot of these answers are people we column bystanders. They can be parents they can be teachers that it be best friends and that these bystanders at some point became a little bit concerned that this person of interest. May in fact be patent determining whether or not he wants to do something violent maybe. Possibly doing something violent. If they have a particular grievance that they are focused on not in general not just -- a general malaise but a particular grievance whether or not it's a real credence or something that they perceive disagreements. That's another. Incidents have we heard about that that we would probably suggests that we take a look and see whether or not there is a potential foreign threat. And when we we noticed these incidents is there's a particular pathway to violence. And usually it starts with they grievance that they have some type of -- the next stage of this pathway. Would be some type of violent -- creation. And while a large portion of the population may have a violent idea nation they're coping mechanisms are training their faith. Tells him very quickly this is not the answer and they move -- But the next phase would be something is along the lines of researching or planning they come up with a -- an idea and start researching and planning. And preparing to do this and if we get any indication it's gone past the radiation stage and towards the other states where there's planning and preparation. That is another indicator of where we may want to take a look to see if any -- astronaut. And then finally any signs of homicidal -- suicidal intent that would be of particular interest as well I hope that. Now that that's very very clear methadone probably in what should go over a couple of those again. Because that's a lot and it's very very interesting to you were listening very intensely. Like I angry with everything he sat I I do think that there are certain things that. We concede before he -- depending on how close of a bystander we are so. Changes and behaviors that. Really stick out so for children let's say. A huge traffic there grade point average blur. No interest in activities -- to enjoy. Changing their group of friends not hanging out with friends that trying from family and friends and I think a lot of that. Our early indicators and they don't necessarily mean that this child is gonna go on to do something awful it could just be normal teen angst but. There -- things to keep your -- on before it develops into Q a fascination with weapons and fascination with Thomas reiter said okay. Everyone stay with us we're gonna continue our discussion. With the FBI and a woman who works with young people all day about. About really protecting ourselves of protecting them stay with this financial under the February. Welcome back we're talking with Mike Anderson and Jeff methods and both with the FBI. And Maureen McDonnell and I I should've said her much earlier on -- with the LSU Health Science Center and the department of psychiatry. But as a social worker you also worked with a lot of young people. Always say the goal of the show the goal of this program is to say. We have witnessed more and more of these really horrific events. That it -- people where someone takes guns and just called active shooter. And I guess as a society we don't want this to happen anymore so as citizens as parents as friends as whatever. What are these things we can be looking at that could possibly. Prevent these events. I'd like to go back to both Jeff and Maureen. Because we were talking earlier. Pick up where you were talking. So I thinks. Early signs there that changes in behavior you might see in a close runner on the -- That isolating which -- dying from French it's a giant with dying from activities they used to enjoy. A market depression or anger. Some all or nothing thinking we liked his college is the rigid thinking that something's good ball and and then. Like we were talking that the preoccupation with weapons and death and stuff like that but some of those early signs is when do you want to get the intervention and so it doesn't. Develop into something worse. I'm not saying it's Canada talented. Mass violence. But it is a sign that someone needs a little extra help and support. And Jeff remain at at some point. Any of these cases. Go from perhaps which is talking about they're depressed they're isolating themselves or. They're being very very vitriolic about how they feel about something and and not listening to reason not accepting help perhaps and it escalates. And then what you do. Well that the first thing we would do is after we identify a person of concern through one of our law enforcement Brothers and sisters bring it to us. Is I would get the information and send it up to arm BAU. Who would take a look at historical factors clinical factors and some contextual factors regarding that person. To determine whether or not the person was at threatened to what level of threat that person may be. In and after that they get together with a lot of psychiatrists a lot of family. Lawyers family yet counselors and things like that and it would come up with a mitigation strategy a threat management strategy if you will. And that an important point to make one that is simply. The response to a threat is not always a prosecutorial or law enforcement response could be. Any thing. That's deemed appropriate according to the factors are discussed and what that individual threat management strategy would be. So just because someone calls in on a friend. As a bystander or or a parent or a teacher calls in on a student or or child. Doesn't necessarily mean that the law that the that the police are gonna show up to arrest the person. It's simply means that we're gonna be aware of it and hopefully will be able to come up with -- an assessment and mitigation strategy. And like -- said that's usually doesn't involve law enforcement involved. Maybe perhaps mental health some type of counselors. Coping mechanisms can be taught to the person how to better deal with the stress so there's a large. I guess you'd say toolbox available. For law enforcement to use to try to get these people off the pathway of violence and be able to mitigate any potential threats that they may have been. Not so much parents nor teachers but not certainly friends. And people there close to someone that they're seeing sort of spiraled down. There's there's still a stigma I think of people coming forward -- all I don't want him to think I'm turning a man I don't want him or her that I am. Doing something negative and where it could be like say and and this perhaps the -- goes back to the bigger issue of how we perceive mental illness in this country and and also our responsibilities but anyway and getting off course. Let's start on. The single shooter aspect because you said -- that you just. Weren't Munro. Discussing this and I'm I'm thinking of mineral wonderful community that a small community he think gee how could happen there. But it happens in very small communities. Absolutely what we have seen as it happens and urban areas rural areas. Suburbs. There is no pattern as far as geographically so when we. Discussed as these matters of law enforcement. We really make it clear if you you may be a two man police department or a thousand man police department and you could be faced with a situation. And so the the training I think and again we've -- seven or eight times covering the state. Jeff does a fantastic presentation spends the entire morning talking about these -- active shooter indicators. To sensitize law enforcement tools type of warning signs. That we were just discussing. And then we spend the rest of the the training -- how do you respond to the active shooters on the incident has occurred in dealing with the aftermath. And it also includes a table top exercise that we bring everyone together. Hand we walk through a timeline. And find out who's gonna respond -- what kind of assets and capabilities they bring to the table. And making sure that. The one thing we really want is if this were to happen in our state we do not want law enforcement to be meeting -- each other on the further for the very first time at one of these sites. That will have at least engage with each other before. And we can seamlessly integrate. -- and deal situation which which a huge part of course is dealing with the victims of the act -- Is the apple we're gonna have to take a break for the newsroom but when we come back the question I have is -- listen to all you wall is. Was column -- the first was that the turning point for this kind of event stay with the -- everyone will be right back. Our very special guest today Mike Anderson and Jeff -- then. Both with the FBI Mike special agent in charge adjust from the Baton Rouge office. And -- prima Donna who is with the LSU health science center on department of psychiatry and we're talking about. Talk about all kinds of things is what we're talking about. It's something of I was just curious about I know you're not gonna speak specifically to what happened in California last week. But the show man had a manifesto. On the Internet and very long beaten and I'm just curious if one sees something like that. Francisco law enforcement of any -- they see something like that which is a major red flag. Do they have the right to it and just go knock on the door. -- I thought he this version ought to take from my perspective if if I became aware of a document. Like that I have not read doc talked about but I would say any type of we refer to those things is legacy tokens. Which is some type of communication it indicates. By the offender why they would do it. And if I saw anything that looked like they let legacy token it'd been prepared. And I would do everything like that would reach out -- the prosecutors or it would work with our state and local law enforcement. To be able to learn more about the situation whether -- -- that means. A direct knock on the door or some other type Covert analysis before we go in and talked to him whether we talked to friends. -- databases things like that you know we would do things get some background and Mitchell before -- necessarily gonna opponent Oregon that would be the first. I agree with Jeff I think we we would have to we have to directly engage. With this individual. Because we. We've gotten enough clear warning sign that there could be action here and directly engage mean and we saw that the FBI does Irsay but at least with our state local counterparts. Social services somebody. Is going to have to start a process. Of analysis. Hand. Because at that point we are now. We are now on notice want force is on Ellis the community is on notice that this is an issue so I agree with -- Cummins. And and probably. Maureen. Other young people who are into social media center would have would see that first. And if they're if they're not nothing like 132 page manifesto but just words -- they're saying or videos that they're putting out. Showed apparent first show. I think -- depend on the situation -- in this scenario. I don't know look -- and done with his parents use. Effort the age of eighteen but with the kids I -- I know that a lot of working in schools is being done to to make them not be bystanders to make them report and that they see that they're classmates are doing there. And at an airport that to a close teacher part of the school counselor. Or to a parent. That that information needs to get asked him that. Can't speak to happen but I know that an and I went back to the California case that three weeks before this event. According to the newspapers. His. Therapist saw some video to put out very alarmed and did call the police and they did go to his apartment and did talk to him. But it never watched the videos. Which I thought was very interesting and then never asked to go in and look in his apartment and he even comment later. -- is it weapons. Hidden gee if they've gone and seen them. Maybe he wouldn't be doing something that's all hindsight and maybe not very fair but it just says those moments or those opportunities. To do something that might have changed the course. On -- news. Fine absolutely bounces of that and that's a problem with you know I don't know his relationship with his therapist that. He only has to disclose what he wants to disclose you know knowing can read his mind what he's gonna do. Regardless of what he posts from the area. When taken -- the break we're gonna be right back stay with this financial under the to do well. Well we're talking with two members of the FBI and done a woman who works for L issue Health Science Center in psychiatry were talking about. But really the tragic issue that we now face in society of people who. Do mass shootings and we're looking at a from different angles I'm gonna go to -- caller on the left. Yeah and -- -- discussion actually goes to I Allah issue medical. And social the social worker. We -- was looking ahead -- the I just want a person does something like and when he. You know -- Medicaid our children right from the first day of their -- you know. And it seemed to think that as those solutions for every ailment that they have pushing medication on them. They get closer to the and a classroom immediately they need to instead of having them sit at a desk for eight hours then absolutely you know and that was pushing rent a group pushing all kinds of medication on them. Could there possibly be. As you know -- interaction with -- inactive with a children's brain activity that they would choose the because of -- medication I'm most of these shooters have been under psychiatric care and also under a severe medication. That irrational natural thinking is not up to par and more and this self control that they actually controlled by medication and -- -- -- Violent you have an answer to. I I certainly agree with a lot of what you're saying but as I'm not a psychiatrist so I can't speak to Wyatt. The specific. Side effects of this medication that some of these kids are on in north and I speak to specific situations. But it it's about concern. That you happened I would encourages psychiatrists. It's into that question. -- Reliably Ike -- and man but could not ruling and I always appreciate your call. I wanna go back to just our basic as we were talking in and the commercial. We -- right or wrong as a society have lived through various tragedies and maybe were a little wiser. We need to get a lot wiser but. In some areas such as this I still think there's a little discomfort and there shouldn't be because we really want these events not to happen. At what point does anyone become alarmed let's say. That you are reading FaceBook and you're starting to read things for somebody. What is different with some -- that they're just an arrangement or there. You know in a bad mood or just being ugly. To something that's beyond yet. I would say that if you get to the point where. You have some concern as to whether or not someone would engage. In a violent activity then your prior to the point where. You may have seen some type of indicators at that we would be incident here and about to make a determination and make an assessment and and ultimately. Hopefully defuse the situation and prevent an act. If you had read earlier a couple of things that just really rang a big bell. You know that the fixated thoughts and invest it which you go over those there were several of them. Right I'll go from again okay. The first one is -- -- -- inappropriate or recent acquisition of firearms. Firearms training target practice things like that. Or a real interest in them the second thing would be if child brought a farm to school. The third would be a diminishing ability to cope with stress yours -- an inability to perceive alternatives to violence. And that's one -- pointed out that once they make a determination that violence is an acceptable. Response we need to really know about that because it's not an acceptable response. External rising blame and a pervasive belief of persecution. In the -- would not be on the actual offender it would be for some other reason some other group of people. Person may be an institution. -- fascination with previous mass shootings or events involving school shootings. It's people who do a lot of research and this and really. Hold these these offenders in esteem if we find that out that would be it a strong indicator. We find it a lot of times people around the people who ultimately commit these things they're people around him that were concerned about their behavior. And thought that that they may have a a possibility of becoming violent at some point and that's the bystanders that we need to hear from. And then that the execs at fixation on a particular real perceived grievance by as I said we all have grievances. And -- the fixation on at the inability to cope with it and get off the pathway to violence and and cope with -- in the normal means that we most of us do. That's another when. Any movement of the violent thought process just thinking about it towards the planning and the preparation. And the and the potentially. Researching what they wanna do if we hear about that that would be a strong. Indicator that may suggest that we wanna have that person assessed and then finally India signs of homicidal or suicidal behavior. So so perfectly sent. If we can all just follow that but I think -- from the commercial use such advanced. It's about dialog. It's about everybody talking that's correct yeah it really -- I can't appreciate. Enough which you'll have done here today and thank you thank you marine thank you Jeff thank you Mike is always. FBI as always you won't need them. Thank you very very much we'll be right back.