STUDY: SCHOOL SHOOT­ERS SHOWED WARN­ING SIGNS

Most ex­hib­ited trou­bling be­hav­ior that was never re­ported, Se­cret Ser­vice study says.

The Times-Tribune - - FRONT PAGE - BY COLLEEN LONG

WASHINGTON — Most students who com­mit­ted deadly school at­tacks over the past decade were badly bul­lied, had a his­tory of dis­ci­plinary trou­ble and their be­hav­ior con­cerned oth­ers but was never re­ported, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. Se­cret Ser­vice study re­leased Thurs­day.

In at least four cases, at­tack­ers wanted to em­u­late other school shoot­ings, in­clud­ing those at Columbine High School in Colorado, Vir­ginia Tech Univer­sity and Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in Con­necti­cut.

The re­search was launched fol­low­ing the shoot­ing at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School.

The study by the Se­cret Ser­vice’s Na­tional Threat As­sess­ment Cen­ter is the most com­pre­hen­sive re­view of school at­tacks since the Columbine shoot­ings in 1999. The re­port looked in-depth at 41 school at­tacks from 2008 through 2017, and re­searchers had un­prece­dented ac­cess to a trove of sen­si­tive data from law en­force­ment in­clud­ing po­lice re­ports, in­ves­tiga­tive files and nonpublic records.

The in­for­ma­tion gleaned through the re­search will help train school of­fi­cials and law en­force­ment on how to bet­ter iden­tify students who may be plan­ning an at­tack and how to stop them be­fore they strike.

“These are not sud­den, im­pul­sive acts where a stu­dent sud­denly gets dis­grun­tled,” Lina Alathari, the cen­ter’s head, said in an As­so­ci­ated Press in­ter­view. “The majority of these in­ci­dents are pre­ventable.”

The fa­thers of three students killed in 2018 at Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School in Park­land, Florida, at­tended a me­dia con­fer­ence Thurs­day in sup­port of the study.

Tony Mon­talto, whose daugh­ter, Gina Rose Mon­talto, died, said the re­search was in­valu­able and could have helped their school pre­vent the at­tack.

Mon­talto urged other schools to pay at­ten­tion to the re­search.

“Please, learn from our ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. “It hap­pened to us, and it could hap­pen to your com­mu­nity, too.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Leah Zun­del, 15, holds a sign dur­ing a stu­dent walk­out to protest gun vi­o­lence on the soc­cer field be­hind Columbine High School in Lit­tle­ton, Colo., in 2018.

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