Offender and offence characteristics of school shooting incidents

Gerard, J., Whitfield, K., Porter, L. and Browne, K. 2016. Offender and offence characteristics of school shooting incidents. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. 13 (1), pp. 22-38. doi:10.1002/jip.1439

TitleOffender and offence characteristics of school shooting incidents
TypeJournal article
AuthorsGerard, J., Whitfield, K., Porter, L. and Browne, K.
Abstract

School shootings are a concern due to their impact in the local community. This paper aimed to (a) establish frequent characteristics of the offender and offence, (b) explore the differences between offenders who are over the age of 18 years and those who are younger, and (c) consider the underlying themes of the offence characteristics. Data were collected on 28 cases through accessing resources such as West Law and case studies. The majority of the offenders were Caucasian and US citizens and suffered from depression. Their offences were primarily well planned, involved more than three deaths, and resulted in the offender committing suicide. Pearson's chi‐square test and Fisher's exact test identified significant differences between the two age groups. Offenders who were 18 years of age or under were more likely to experience depression, be US citizens and be linked to the school. Additionally, offenders who were 18 years of age or under were more likely to have stolen their weapons and made threats prior to the incident. Smallest space analysis revealed four thematic regions in relation to the offence characteristics: making an impact, delivering a message, doing unrestrained activity, and targeting specific individuals. These findings have implications for risk assessment and furthering understanding.

Keywordsschool shooting; juvenile; offence characteristics; multidimensional scaling; school violence
JournalJournal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling
Journal citation13 (1), pp. 22-38
ISSN1544-4767
Year2016
PublisherWiley
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1002/jip.1439
Publication dates
Published in printJan 2016
Published online25 Mar 2015

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