Characteristics of an Active Shooter
A number of police and sheriffs department policies list characteristics that are often associated with active shooters. The policies note that each incident is unique and that no list of active shooter characteristics is comprehensive. The characteristics cited in various policies include:Active shooters are likely to engage more than one target. They may target particular individuals or they may be intent on killing as many randomly chosen people as possible. Active Shooters often go to location with high concentrations of people, such as schools, theaters, shopping center, or other places of business.
Active shooters’ intentions is usually an expression of hatred or rage, rather than financial gain or motives associated with other types of crimes. Thus, police tactics of containment and negotiation may be an inadequate response to and active shooter.
Active shooters often have made detailed plans for the attack. In many cases, they are better armed that the police. They usually have some familiarity with the chosen location.
Active shooters often, but not always, are suicidal. Escape from the police is usually not a priority of an active shooter. Most active shooters have not attempted to hide their identity.
In some situations, active shooters choose a location for a tactical advantage.