Presentation on theme: "The Psychology of Spree Killing Craig Jackson"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Psychology of Spree Killing Craig Jackson Prof. Occ Health PsychologyBirmingham City University
2 “Going Postal” Unfortunate term - misleading Incidents from 1983 onwardsInvolving USPS workersShot / killed colleagues, managers, police, public1986 – spree kill incidents 48 murderedThree incidents elsewhere:Australia (1926, 1987)Canada (1934)Not all “Postal killings” are “Spree killings”
3 Notable Incidents Edmond, Oklahoma: 1986 Patrick Sherrill PT letter carrier facing dismissaldue to troubled work history14 employees shot and killed & 6 woundedRidgewood, New Jersey: 1991Joseph Harris shot and killed four people1 yr after being firedIncluded former boss & 2 USPS employeesRoyal Oak, Michigan: 1991Thomas McIlvane killed 5 people, including himselfUsed a rifle in Royal Oak's post officeWas fired from the USPS for "insubordination"Had been previously suspended for getting into altercations with postal customers on his route.
4 Notable Incidents Double event May 6th 1993 Two shootings took place on the same day, a few hours apartAt a post office in Dearborn, Michigan Lawrence Jasion wounded three and killed two (including himself)In California, Mark Hilburn killed his mother, then shot two postal workers deadGoleta, California: 2006Jennifer SanMarco - SanMarco Former postal employee, retired due to previous mental health problems. Killed 6 postal employees (and a further non-related victim at her old apartment block)Committing suicide at a large postal processing facilityUsed handgun. Victim selection racially biased – “The Racist Press”
5 Notable Incidents Baker City, Oregon: 2006 Grant Gallaher, 41 yrs old. current employeeof eighteen years, ran over his supervisor thenshot him several times.Gallaher reportedly was on a new route for three weeks and had felt pressured by a week-long work-time study and an extra twenty minutes added to his new routeSacramento, California: 2009A post office clerk threatened to kill a customer, and the branch had to be closed for the day.
6 Going Postal Mythology? Interventions1993 USPS creates 85 “WorkplaceEnvironment Analysts” to cope withViolence prevention and environmentalimprovement.All fired in Feb 2009 due to cutbacks.Epidemiology2.1 homicides per 100,000 retail workers1.7 homicides per 100,000 public admin workers0.2 homicides per 100,000 USPS workersUSPS employs 0.75% of civilian labour force13% of employee-directed homicides occurred at USPS facilities by (former) staff (NIOSH)
7 UK “Spree Killing” hides subtle differences Ryan Sartin Hamilton Bird MoatYearDay Sat Sun Wed Wed SatDuration 8 hrs 2hrs 20mins 4 hrs 7daysKilled Yes No Yes Yes YesSuicide Yes NA Yes Yes ?DeadInjuredVictims All Adult All Adult AdultTargeted No No Yes Some AllIndiscriminate Yes Yes Yes Yes NoMobile Yes Yes No Yes YesSchool Yes No Yes No NoShootist Yes No Yes Yes NoLegal firearms Yes No Yes Yes No“Normal” No No No Yes Yes/NoFamily Yes No No Yes NoPolice on scene Yes Yes No No YesCommunications No No Yes No Yes
8 Military Spree Killings Since 1995 there have been 6 recordedspree killings in the US MilitaryFort Hood massacre in 2009 most memorableMajor Nidal Malik Hasan was a US Army PsychiatristKilled 13 and injured 30 othersWith more qualifications, career progression and life chances than most spree killers, he does not fit the typical pattern of spree killers - he was not under undue stress at the time of the killingsThere is some suggestion of some sub-standard aspects to his clinical work and possible Islamic radicalisation prior to the killings.
9 Schools & CollegesThe place that features most in spree killings is thatof educational establishments, sometimes schools,but mostly university colleges.Since Charles Whitman took refuge in an observation tower and killed 16, and injured 31 at the University of Texas in 1963, there have been numerous spree killers who engage in their sprees entirely on the premises:Hamilton, Lepine, Cho, Klebold and Harris, or Kretschmer , or who kill elsewhere who then seem to migrate to their former alma mater, such as Weise, Whitman, or Ryan.Whether their former schools represent safety or security for them in a siege situation is unknown – after all who can’t recall the layout of their former school - but it is clear that schools and colleges play an important role for a sizeable percentage of spree killers.
10 Serial Murder or Spree Murder Mass murderThe killing of several people at one location.Spree murderThe killing of several people at different locations over a period of days.These killers typically commit suicide or are killed by the police.Two types of mass murderersThose who chose specific targets who the killers believe to have causedthem stress.Those who attack targets having no personal connection with the killer butbelong to groups the killer dislikes.
11 Serial Murder or Spree Murder Spree killers move from victim to victim in fairly rapid succession.Spree killing is rare, but spree-killing teams are even rarer and are typicallycomposed of a dominant leader and submissive (lover?).Spree and mass murderers have increased steadily in the United Statessince the middle of the 20th Century.How can anyone feel so abruptly angry that they suddenly and so completely lose all touch with reality to the extent of killing such a large group of total strangers?A very real difficulty for forensic specialists attempting to research the subject, is that most killers end up unavailable for proper study.Either because the authorities had to shoot them, or the perpetrators end up taking their own lives.
12 Serial Murder or Spree Murder Not as widely researched as serial killingVery uncommon, although they do appear to becoming more commonSpree killers generally have not come to the attention of the police previouslySome incident / incidents build up in their life that they feel they need to take action against, and that they are able to access a suitable weaponPLUSNeed the creation of an offending space:(1) Firearms (2) Trigger event(s) (3) Victims (4) Autonomy
13 Giannangelo's Diathesis / Stress Model Biological Predisposition (low arousal levels, possible prefrontal cortex damage, etc) Environmental Trauma/StressPredisposition Self-esteem and self- control problemsSexual dysfunctionMaladaptive coping skillsRetreat into fantasy worldDissociative processKill!
14 Home-Based Spree San Diego, California: Jan 1979 Brenda Spencer 16yrs oldHistory of petty theft, truancy, drug useChristmas 1978 father gave her .22semi-automatic rifleGrover Cleveland Elementary SchoolOpened fire on pupils from bedroom windowFired 30 roundsKilled 2, injured 9 (8 pupils, 1 police)Barricaded into bedroomEventually surrenderedTried as adult – double murder and assault with deadly weapon25 years to life sentenceFailed parole 4 timesEligible in 2019
15 The UK’s Unknown Spree Robert Sartin 22yrs old. Social security admin workerMonkseaton, TynesideApril 30th 1989Took fathers shotgun20 mins spreeKilled 1 (Ken Mackintosh);14 woundedDressed in blackCartridges in bandolierDrove off to seasideArrested by undercover officer1 Murder & 17 attempted murdersInsanity plea. Subsequent Sz diagnosisDetained indefinitely at Ashworth Special Hospital
16 Hungerford Michael Ryan 27 yrs Unemployed casual labourer Legal ownership of shotguns, handguns & semi-automaticsNo criminal recordNo mental illnessLoner. Fantasists. Military “fanatic”Withdrew after death of father aged 25Lost occasional labouring jobs. Lived with motherJoined the Tunnel Rifle & Pistol ClubTold people he had a gun shop, a fiancé, was ex SASStarted at 12 noon Sat August 19th 1987Savernake ForestSusan Godfrey 35 picnic mum. 2 kids spared
17 Hungerford narrative #1 Susan Godfrey 35 killed picnic mum. 2 kids sparedRefuelled carKakoub Dean shot at petrol station owner. Gun jammedDrove home to no.4 South ViewFamily dogs KilledRe-supplied / re-armedCar failed to startShot car 4 timesReturned into house – started petrol fireTook 2 rifles and handgun and left on footRoland & Sheila Mason killedWounded eye-witness neighbourWitness sees Ryan warn some children to leave the areaMoves up and down the same streetDorothy Smith swore at him to shut up and stopRyan leaves by footpathLisa Mildenhall (14) shot 4 times but survives
19 Hungerford narrative #2 Ken Clements killedPolice air support spots himSouth View cordoned offPC Roger Bereton shot 4 times killedShot another car injured occupants (mum and daughter)Abdul Khan shot 3 time – survivedShot at Ambulance teamIvor Jackson shot 4 times (survived) played deadIvor’s driver shot died in crashDorothy Ryan arrived on sceneDorothy shot 2 times (leg and stomach) shot twice more in back (dead)TFU called (40 miles away)Ryan moved on across school play groundElderly neighbour shot at (survived)Francis Butler (dog walker) shot 3 times deadAbandoned M1 carbine (left with berretta and ak47)Shoots at boy on bike (misses)Marcus Barnard shot killed
20 Hungerford narrative #3 Ryan ditches AK47 then picks it up againShoots and wounds 2 moreShoots at car – killing male driver, wounding female passengerShoots at 2 people in a van. Van crashes into pole. Eric Vardy driver killedSandra Hill (20) shot killed driving pastWent to no. 60 Priory Rd – broke inShot killed Victor Gibbs and Myrtle GibbsUsed their house to shoot out to roadShot a passing car killing driver Ian PlayleLeft no. 60 Priory Rd and headed to former school John o’GauntOn way shot & killed George Noon (67)Pointed at neighbour and said “bang” then moved onFired at houses as he passedTFU surround schoolRyan throws AK47 with “white flag” from 3rd floor window
21 Hungerford narrative #4 At first he was belligerent, refused to give his nameEventually he seemed willing to talk They kept up an exchange for over an hour Helpfully, Ryan let them know where he had dropped his rifle, with a magazineLamented his mother's death, as well as his shooting of the dogsHe asked that they give his dog a proper burialHe kept asking if his mother had died, but TFU would not confirm this. "I won't come out until I know“ "I did not mean to kill her. It was a mistake.“Throws berretta magazine from windowClaims 1 round left in chamber“I wish I had stayed in bed”“If only my car would’ve started”6:45 muffled shot from berretta3 hours later police find body in school classroomCremated 3rd Sept
22 Hungerford VictimsSusan Godfrey, 35 – shot and died Kakoub Dean – shot at (missed & firearm malfunction) Roland Mason – shot and died Sheila Mason – shot and died Marjorie Jackson – shot and survived Lisa Mildenhall, 14 – shot and survived Kenneth Clements – shot and diedPC Roger Brereton – shot and died Linda Chapman – shot and survived Alison Chapman – shot and survived Abdul Rahman Khan, 84 – shot and died Alan Lepetit – shot and survived Hazel Haslett – windscreen shot, glass injury and survived Ivor Jackson – shot and survived George White – shot and died Dorothy Ryan, 61 – shot and died
23 Hungerford VictimsBetty Tolladay, 71 – shot and survived Francis Butler, 26 – shot and died Marcus Bernard, 30 – shot and died Man – shot and survived Douglas Wainwright – shot and died Kathleen Wainwright, 62 – shot and survived Woman driver – shot and survived John Storms, 49 – shot and survived Eric Vardy – shot and died Sandra Hill, shot and died Victor Gibbs, shot and died Myrtle Gibbs - shot and died Man from 62 Priory Road – shot and survived Woman from 71 Priory Road – shot and survived Ian Playle, 34 – shot and died George Noon, 67 – shot and survived
24 Hungerford Motives Attempt raped / assault of Susan Godfrey? Did “stalk” peopleWore camouflage etc.Petrol station shot?Inability to cope with what he had (tried) to do to Godfrey?Legacy that spree killing is form of pent up rage and anger – not always trueThe Hungerford Report led to the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988, which banned the ownership of semi-automatic centre-fire rifles and restricted the use of shotguns with a magazine capacity of more than two rounds
25 Hungerford Gregory Moffat, childhood specialist Claimed that victims of bullying are generally small, weak, lack confidence and are loners.Inability to defend themselves against their bullies means that shame, guilt, anger, hate and the need for revenge builds inside them.This powerful mix of emotions is often later expressed in an inappropriately violent response.This seemed to fit the “profile” of Michael Ryan
26 Dunblane Thomas W Hamilton Unemployed former shopkeeper 43yrs old 13th March 19968.15 am Thomas Hamilton was seen by aneighbour to be scraping ice off his vanoutside his home at 7 Kent Road, Stirling. They had a chat.Later he drove off in the van in the direction of Dunblane9.30 am he parked the van beside a telegraph pole in the lower car park of Dunblane Primary SchoolHe took out a pair of pliers and to cut the telephone wires at the foot of the telegraph pole. These did not serve the school but a number of adjoining housesCrossed the car park, carrying weapons, ammunition and other equipment2 Brownings, 2 Magnums, 743 rounds.
28 Dunblane Entered the school by way of a door on its north west side which was next to the toilets beside the gymThe school day had started at 9 am for all primaryclasses. Morning assemblies were held in the school'sAssembly Hall which was situated between the dining area and the gymnasium.The school had 640 pupils, making it one of the largest primary schools in Scotland. The Assembly Hall was not large enough to accommodate the whole school at one time.Hamilton fired 2 rounds at the stage in the Assembly hallEntered Gym – wearing black, woolly hat and ear defendersFired indiscriminately into groups of teachers and childrenSome teachers and children hid in store cupboard nearby
29 DunblaneHamilton walked around the inside of the gym, then outside the fire escape and fired at passing strangersRe-entered the gym and continued shooting then immediately shot himself.Took less than 5 minutes. Fired 109 times.1 teacher and 16 children dead3 teachers and 10 children injured and survived
30 Dunblane Motives and History Withdrawal of his warrant as a Scout leader in 1974Undying resentment against the ScoutsHamilton claimed they undermined his work with variousboys clubs which he ran from the 1970s onwardsThe way he ran those clubs, and in particular his insistence that the boys should wear brief swimming trunks which he provided caused complaints from parentsLed to his coming into contention with a number of local authorities which owned the school premises where his clubs met
32 Dunblane Motives and History His summer camps in 1988 and 1991 and his residential sports training course in 1992 were investigated by the police, but he was never prosecutedHamilton countered these complaints and investigations with complaints of his own against the police and local authority officialsIn 1995 Central Regional Council was still endeavouring to find ways of making it more difficult for him to obtain the let of their premisesAllegations as to his conduct with firearms, and in particular showing them to others and an occasion on which he is said to have threatened Mrs Doreen Hagger with a gunIn 1996 his clubs were then in declineHe was in serious financial difficulties
33 Dunblane Motives and History His mood was low and he was deeply resentful of those who had claimed that he was a pervert and had discouraged boys from attending his clubsAfter a gap of about 8 years his interest in firearms was resurgentThere is evidence which points to his making preparations for what he did, a) questions which he put to a boy about the layout and timing of events at the school.b) questioning of a retired police officer about the time which the police would take to respond to an incident.Hamilton was not mentally ill but had a paranoid personality with a desire to control others in which his firearms were the focus of his fantasies.The violence which he used would not have been predictable.His previous conduct showed indications of paedophilia.
34 Copycat Phenomenon Martin Bryant, 28 yrs old April 1996, Tasmania Port Arthur Tourist Site35 dead – 35 woundedShot on the road, Broad Arrow cafe, car park, tool booth, service station, then kidnapped a couple, held man hostage then killed himCaptured by policeClaimed he “wanted to beat Hamilton’s record”Hungerford occurred 10 days after the “Hoddle St” killings in Melbourne
35 Cumbria Spree Derrick Bird, 52 yrs Taxi Driver 2nd June 2010 Killed 12, Injured 11Targeted Killings in LamplughDavid Bird brotherKevin Commons – family solicitorShot taxi drivers in Whitehaven, then drove through Egremont, Gosforth, SeascaleShooting from vehicleTargeted those could get close to e.g. shotgun rangeCommitted suicide at Boot before any stand off or siege
37 Cumbria Motives Bird angered by taxi colleagues Angered by Brother and family willPrevious conviction for theft (suspended)3 of dead were former Sellafield staffInland Revenue investigation (£60K stashed in accounts)Thai girlfriend / sex tourist backgroundSent money to Thailand – dumped by text
40 Northumbria Manhunt Raoul Moat, 37yrs old. PT Bouncer Recently released from Durham Prison2 days after release, shot 3 people with sawn off shotgunex-girlfriend Sam StobbartChris BrownPC David RathbandSix days on the run and UK’s biggest manhuntMoat wrote to police - said would not attack civilians – “Not like Bird”Left recordings to say would shoot civilians due to “experts slagging him off”Moat recognised by police and contained in the open at Rothbury6 hours of negotiation, Moat shot himself in the early hours
41 Northumbria Manhunt Narcissistic Manipulative Compensation Non-lethal cartridgeWarning marksControllingBody augmentation through anabolic androgenic steroidsObsessed with leaving the legacy of an avenger“Cops harassing some young mum”
44 Role of Media Moat case: ongoing TV 24 hours to fill Influenced investigationInfluenced crimeTV swamping communitiesTV infamy influencing killersAPA letter to NBC and CBS
45 ThoughtsSpree killing as a form of social protest Akin to slave revoltsReaganomicsEngaged in by powerless who cannot cope“Randomness” is questionableNot “crazed” or out of control – some elements of planning and calmnessMany types of spree roamingstationarydrivingmono-locationmission-drivenGravitate towards helplessGravitate towards siege-friendly locations
46 Narcissistic Injury‘Narcissistic injury’ is a term used to describe spree killersThey are particularly emotionally wounded by their failures in life.These humiliations stand in stark contrast to how well they believe they should be doing, given their conviction they are in fact superior to others.Or at the very least they should be doing better than they are.How to explain this predicament? Well, maybe there is a conspiracy.Paranoia
47 Family Annihilation vs Protest Killers Spree killers may wipe out families as they feel the future is bleakWorkplace killers making a social protestKilling the organization or group they hateColleaguesSuccessful peopleCommunitySocietye.g. Mark Lepine (25 yrs old) killed 14 women and injured 15 people at a college in Montreal in 1989, left a suicide note claiming this was a protest against feminism.
48 Failure and a Formula to Explode In non-familial mass killings there is a repeated pattern of failures in lifeEspecially in work, and in personal lifeCombined with diminishing ability to cope with the resulting stressAdd a chronic tendency to blame others for disappointmentsAcute triggers provoke the actual decision to kill and diePrecipitants often found in rampage killings have been sudden unemployment or relationship breakdown, such as the ending of a marriageSo a deep sense of frustration, failure, and disappointment in someone who sees themselves as the victim, combined with blaming others for their own problems, mixed in with mounting pessimism that their difficulties cannot be solved, leads to suicidal and homicidal feelings entwined.
49 PredictabilityA total of 98 USA spree killing incidents took place from 1949 to 199990% occurred in the period 1980–1999Suggests a dramatic increase in spree killingsSpree killings are much more likely to occur on week days compared to other kinds of homicide which are more often perpetrated at week-ends???Perhaps access to groups of weaker victims – schools co-workers - is more obtainable Mon-Fri
51 ReferencesAmes M. Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond, Washington. Soft Skull Press 2011.Foster, Howard. "Ryan Boasted that He was Never without a Gun." The Times, Sept. 25, 1987.Hilliard, Brian. "The Hungerford Massacre," Police Review, Oct. 9, 1987.Lane, Brian, and Wilfred Gregg. The Encyclopedia of Mass Murder. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2004.Jackson CA. in Howard V. Raoul Moat: His short life and bloody death. London. Blake Publishing; 2010Jackson CA. Psychosocial Hazards - violence. In Smedley, J et al. (eds) Oxford Handbook of Occupational Health. Oxford. Oxford University Press;Jackson CA. Can psychology help in reducing spree-killing incidents? Birmingham Post, Jul. 24, 2011.Jackson CA. Norway analysis: Horrific last resort of a weak and unstable narcissist, The Scotsman, Jul. 24, 2011.
52 References Mass Murderers. Time-Life Books. Alexandria, VA: 1992. Moffatt G. Wounded Innocents and Fallen Angels: Child Abuse and Child Aggression. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003.Pantziarka, P. Lone Wolf: True Stories of Spree Killers. London: Virgin Books, 2000.Uttley S. Dunblane Unburied. BookPublishingWorld (8 March 2006)Wilson D & Jackson CA. Brevik’s not mad BCU press release"Witnesses to a Trail of Terror that Claimed Fourteen Lives," The Independent, Aug. 20, 1987.