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Understanding the Adolescent Active Shooter: Psychology, Neuroscience, Threat Leakage, and Threat Assessment

This comprehensive, research-based lecture examines the psychology and behavior of active shooter/mass violence perpetrators. Firmly grounded in 25,000 hours of research by Threat Suppression, this course is an apolitical, non-biased examination of perpetrator behavior, motives, and indicators. This course addresses many of the theories surrounding active shooter perpetrators. With more than 400 citations and references, this presentation provides a factual examination of available scholastic research.


Law enforcement officials, intelligence analysts, school administrators and others need to have a thorough understand of both the psychology and behavior to effectively prevent active shooter attacks. This course is ideal for law enforcement officers, intelligent analysts, school administrators, school counselors, school resource officers, mental health providers, prosecutors, military leadership, and security officials with recognized critical infrastructure. Threat Suppression has provided this training to multiple federal law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the United States’ District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Education, and the Department of Defense.


Active shooter/active assailant events continue to increase the United States. Unfortunately, in many cases, the identifying pre-attack clues are often discovered after the attack. In almost all cases, the perpetrator exhibited warning signs prior to the attack. In many cases, family, friends, and school employees stated that they were very concerned that the perpetrator would conduct some type of attack. However, in all attack cases, the warning signs were either not recognized or not acted upon in time to stop the attack.


Although there is no standard “profile” of the active assailant, there are many commonalities. In this course, the presenter will discuss the perpetrator commonalities, including the psychology, neuroscience, causative factors, common motives, pre-attack intelligence gathering, and pre-attack warning indicators. The presenter will discuss the adolescent active shooter, adult “workplace” active shooter, homegrown violent extremist, and domestic terrorist. Although each typology is similar, there are certain characteristics unique to each group.


Threat leakage is the communication to a third party of the intent to do harm. Threat leakage is fact-based, dynamic, acute, and often accelerates as the attack approaches. Threat leakage frequently occurs in active shooter attacks, especially those attacks perpetrated by adolescents. Leakage is one of the best and most important predictors of an adolescent’s impending violent act. In this presentation, the concept of threat leakage will be explored. The leakage pathway of warning behavior is covered, including numerous real-life examples of leakage in social media, diaries, school projects, and more. Numerous active shooter perpetrators will be discussed, and examples of each perpetrator’s threat leakage will be shown. 


This presentation addresses some of the most controversial subjects surrounding active shooter perpetrators. This course discusses the correlation of mental illness, the debate about psychiatric medications as a causative factor, video games as a reported causative factor, bullying, copycat contagion, and more. This course presents a comprehensive package that allows the course participants to form their own opinion based on current scholastic research.


The presenter will discuss numerous hypothesized reasons for the increase in active shooter events. These reasons include Marcia’s theory of identity, access to weapons, history of abuse, traumatic brain injuries, self-bullying, fatherless homes, and more. At the end of the course, the presenter will provide a case study of an adult active shooter and the events that led up to the shooting.


The presenter will discuss the threat assessment process and ways to systematically examine a potential perpetrator for warning behavior. Many threat assessment tools are widely available. The presenter will discuss fundamentals that should be included in any threat assessment tool. Last, the presenter will discuss how to determine a threat, including imminent threat, medium-risk threat, and low-risk threat. The presenter will describe key questions to ask during the threat evaluation process to determine the level of risk. The presenter will also describe clues to look for in an individual’s social medial profiles.


This class is for active public safety members, military law enforcement, intelligence analysts, mental health professionals, and school administrators only. This class is not available to the general public. To download a PDF description of this course, please click the PDF below. This presentation can be conducted both live or via webinar. 

If you would like more information on booking this course, please email, or call 1-800-231-9106.


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