The National Threat Assessment Center of the U.S. Secret Service released a report Tuesday that analyzed commonalities between the 27 mass attacks that occurred in America last year.
They include the fatal shooting of three employees of a residential treatment program for veterans at the state’s Yountville Veterans Home in March, and the October shooting in a Thousand Oaks bar that killed 11 people — including 18-year-old Napa Valley native Alaina Housley — and injured at least two others.
The FBI defines mass attacks are those where at least three people are harmed. Researchers studied a total of five such attacks in California.
Two-thirds of attackers had histories of mental health symptoms, researchers found. That was the case for the shooters in both Yountville and Thousand Oaks.
Nearly all said threatening or concerning things and more than three-quarters elicited concern from others before the attack, researchers found. More than a third threatened someone and nearly a quarter threatened their target, according to the report.
Most attackers used guns, and half left the scene or killed themselves, according to the report.
Half were motivated by a domestic, workplace or personal issue. Four in 10 appeared to have specific targets in mind, researchers found.
Nearly all experienced a significant stressor in the past five years and more than half appeared to be financially unstable during that same time frame, researchers found.
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“We can identify warning signs prior to an act of violence,” researchers wrote.
Nearly all attackers were male — one was a woman and another was in the process of gender reassignment, according to the report.
A quarter of attackers had a history of illicit drug use or substance abuse, according to the report. Nearly half had criminal charges, including nonviolent and violent offenses. A third of attackers had histories of domestic violence, though not all acts resulted in an arrest or charges.
Seven in 10 mass attacks were carried out at a place of business. Four attacks happened in open spaces such as a sidewalk or street, three attacks happened in high schools and one attack took place in a house of worship, according to the report. No mass attacks were carried out on a mode of transportation last year, compared to three in 2017.
More than half of mass attacks took place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and ended within five minutes of when the attack began, according to the report. Attacks occurred during every month but December and on all days of the week.
In the case of the Yountville attack, the person who shot and killed three women at the Veterans Home was a former client of the Pathway Home, a residential treatment program for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Jennifer Golick, 42, Christine Loeber, 48, and Jennifer Gonzales Shushereba, 32, all worked at the Pathway Home.
He took the women hostage on a weekday morning, inside their workplace. Investigatory records revealed he had previously threatened to harm staff.