(Originally published on npr.org on 2/26/16)
From a domestic violence perspective, this subject was a very dangerous individual even before he began shooting bystanders and co-workers. His intimate partner’s reports of assault, strangulation, alcohol abuse, and mental health issues were all red flags in regard to his violence potential. It’s yet unknown whether he had a work-related grievance, but his abusive behaviors combined with the factors of a disintegrating relationship, impending legal problems, and access to weapons appear to have created a powder keg which was lit when the protection order was served. “Trigger events” (such as judicial orders, job terminations, or breakups) can become catalysts for targeted violence, particularly in people who have already shown such tendencies.
Most of the domestic violence cases I help companies with consist of threats toward a victim-employee, but this case demonstrates that abuser-employees may sometimes pose an even greater risk to a workplace than outside attackers. Therefore, corporate threat managers, law enforcement, social service, and court systems should use extra caution when determining where, when, and how to intervene in high-lethality intimate partner situations.
Presage Consulting and Training, LLC is a boutique threat assessment and management firm focused solely on domestic violence. We offer customized training sessions on a variety of domestic violence topics. Choose from Corporate Training, Law Enforcement Training, Domestic Violence Training, and Social Service Training. Contact us for more information on these topics or to schedule a training session.