SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI says lone wolf or lone offender attackers are never really isolated. They hope their new research inspires more prevention ahead of time.
The FBI studied 52 lone offender attacks in the United States back to 1972. Almost all were male and were independent of any terrorist group or organization, but all had warning signs ahead of time.
Salt Lake City Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge, Dave Fitzgibbons, says 96 percent of offenders had writing or videos for others to see. Another 83 percent had previous hostile or aggressive behavior.
“There could be a lot more under the surface, and we have to get ahead of these before they go from radicalization to what we call mobilization to conduct an attack” he said.
In every case, bystanders expressed concern about something they saw beforehand, but in only a quarter of those cases did they report it. The FBI wants people to report those things that just don’t seem right.
“If they see anything suspicious, where people are expressing some grievances, whether it’s political, social, economical, religious, that may be a part of their ideology, if it doesn’t sit well with them, or doesn’t pass the smell test, we want them to report it,” Fitzgibbons said.
“Once they place a backpack somewhere or go out to conduct an attack, it’s too late for us. We have to do preventative efforts, and need people to report early recognition of suspicious behaviors” he said.
That includes community members, family and friends.
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