The Psychology of an Active Shooter

The Psychology of an Active Shooter
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-11-10
Unit 1Slide Deck: The Psychology of an Active Shooter
Unit 2Transcript: The Psychology of an Active Shooter
Unit 3Workbook: The Psychology of an Active Shooter
Unit 4Recording: The Psychology of an Active Shooter

Active shooters tend to take their own lives immediately after they carried out their planned destruction. Thus, the motivation behind active shooter attacks remains to be somewhat of a mystery. But studying each incident and each active killer, patterns arise allowing stakeholders to better understand an active killer’s psyche in efforts to prevent casualties.

This webinar’s instructor is Mark Warren, the Vice President and Director of Training for Strategos International. He’s had a 27-year career in law enforcement assigned in various operations and roles including high-risk arrests, undercover operations, and training.

In this session, Mark’s insightful discussion covered:

  • Differentiating active killers from serial killers by looking at their killing patterns, life experiences, motivation, and interaction with their victims.
  • Debunking the misconception that active killers are prompted by revenge or retribution.
  • How active killers are observed to monitor past mass shooting incidents and use this as a reference to plan their attack and even as a comparison aiming to surpass the past attack’s scale of violence.
  • Unpacking the active killer’s victim-victimizer worldview, where they see themselves in this dichotomy, and how they think they can flip the narrative by carrying out an attack.
  • The sense of power that active killers get from seeing the victims begging for their lives.
  • Society’s tendency to identify the armed attacker which provides the active killer the satisfaction that the focus is on him while the victims are unknown.
  • The elaborate plan for victimization but lack of an escape plan.
  • How suicide provides a way out where the active killer maintains the belief of being the victimizer as his false bravado cannot be upheld after the attack.
  • Why active killers typically don’t negotiate and how they choose their victims.
  • How fighting back erodes the active killer’s victimizer mindset and instances when both armed and unarmed citizens fighting back averted further bloodshed.
  • Getting the active killer to revert to his default victim mindset through swift aggressive action.
  • How society and media are successfully denying active killers the satisfaction of desired notoriety by making victims the focus of incidents and reporting.
  • The University of California’s San Bernardino mass shooter’s final video and manifesto that corroborates the concepts discussed on the psychology of an active shooter.

Points raised during the Q&A were about:

  • The motivation of the Sandy Hook shooter.
  • Lessons and anomalies from the Las Vegas shooting incident.
  • Providing support to individuals who are at high-risk situations that may escalate to an active shooter scenario.



Other Upcoming Webinars with Mark:


Resources and Handouts
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