Mind Over Murder: Threat Assessment

Von Maur Crime Scene Omaha, NE Whether it’s a bogus bomb threat at a high school or an urgent response to an angry man vowing to take revenge on co-workers, the reaction these days has been with what’s known as “threat assessment.” It’s the procedure used to figure out if a threat can be believed, how likely an attack is, and how to respond to keep people safe.

Whether it’s a bogus bomb threat at a high school or an urgent response to an angry man vowing to take revenge on co-workers, the reaction these days has been with what’s known as “threat assessment.” It’s the procedure used to figure out if a threat can be believed, how likely an attack is, and how to respond to keep people safe.

Robert Hawkins If it works, it can head off horrific acts of violence like the shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech or the Von Maur store in Omaha, Neb.

In the Von Maur case Robert Hawkins, an angry, depressed and emotionally unstable 19-year-old showed signs that he might be planning to hurt himself and perhaps others. He wrote a suicide note found before he started his killing spree saying he intended to “take out” some people and that he would become famous.

 

Clip 1: After the shooting spree at Von Maur, those in the business of studying the threats of mass killings believed Robert Hawkins had shown himself to be capable of violence for years. Forensic Psychologist Reid Meloy from San Diego, Calif. examined the public record on Hawkins and drew conclusions about the roots of his homicidal behavior.
 


Clip 2: Research of the patterns in mass shooting sprees reveal distinct patterns and differences between adult and teenaged killers. Forensic Psychologist Reid Meloy explains.
 

 


Clip 3: Hearing about mass shootings in the news, we all ask the same question: how would I react? Based on his research, Reid Meloy offers advice on your personal safety in a mass shooting.

 

Additional Information

A major television talk show interviews Hawkins' mother and a survivor of the attacks--view it here.

In the wake of the Columbine High School shootings, the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service produced a pair of major reports on the response to these type of events. They are available here:

The School Shooter
Threat Assessment In Schools