I’m borrowing the “aborted” terminology from my friend Ron Borsch who has done more research on rapid mass murderers than anyone in history. What we are talking about is when a shooter plans to kill and his plan is interrupted. I don’t know if this event would match the strict definition (as the shooting had yet to begin), but I’m calling it a win.
The shooter in this case planned an elaborate scheme to kill students in a dorm at the University of Central Florida. As he became ever more stressed and mentally unhinged just prior to the event, he slipped up and pulled a gun on a roommate. The roommate called the police. That was enough to push the shooter over the edge. Fearing the police response, he quickly shot himself in the head. Active. Shooter. Event. Aborted.
The authorities only found out about the shooter’s plans when they searched his room following his death. Read more about it at the link below:
Former UCF student who killed himself had planned wider attack
I hate to keep harping on the same issues, but they are important. The shooter here planned to use several common ploys that have been used successfully by previous killers. It’s important to study such events and see what we can learn. While we don’t have a whole lot of information on this case, I can talk about a few important points:
1) Ambush- The shooter planned to pull the fire alarm, forcing the students into a common evacuation zone. The evacuation site was likely a large open area with no cover available. Students wouldn’t likely be carrying anything that could be used as a weapon when they were awakened in the middle of the night for a “fire drill”. The shooter planned to be set up in the evacuation area to kill as many students as possible.
This isn’t a new tactic. It was used successfully by school shooters in Jonesborough, Arkansas nearly 15 years ago. It’s an easy way to rack up a high body count with minimal resistance from the victims.
If you are in a public building and hear a fire alarm, keep your brain engaged. It may not be a fire. Be cautious as you proceed to the evacuation site and avoid blind corners, stairways with no escape options, “fatal funnels” and other ambush spots. If you have any say in the matter, get yourself to a safe area as far away from the “herd” as possible. My prediction is that the next shooter who tries this tactic will have a weapon with a homemade suppressor (silencer) to even further confuse the people being shot. If people aren’t hearing gunshots, they’ll stay in the herd longer thus building up the killer’s score.
2) The shooter had plans to create the largest body count possible. He had two guns (as do most active shooters) and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. He wanted to go the distance and kill until he was forced to stop. My guess is that he was trying to beat the total number of deaths that the killers in Norway and Aurora racked up.
These killers are cowards, but they are prepared and have enough ammunition for a fight if it comes to that. If you are responding to such an event, keep that fact in mind.
3) Explosives. The shooter had four improvised explosive devices as well. We don’t know what he was planning on using them for, but they could have been designed to be placed in alternate evacuation sites or as further ways to distract and slow the police response. More and more shooters are using bombs. If you are on the scene of one of these events, you must be alert for the signs of an explosive device being planted and stay away from anything that will hide a large bomb.
4) Prior plans. The shooter had extensive written plans. Most shooters have created similar “manifestos”. Be alert if you see something like this. Don’t just attribute it to an overactive imagination or adolescent fantasy. If you find plans for a mass shooting, alert the police! This one came way too close to completion. If one of his three roommates had seen the plans and acted earlier, the entire incident might have been prevented.
5) Resistance. This is the most important lesson to learn from the attempted killing. As soon as the shooter is confronted with what he thinks is effective resistance, he will either kill himself or flee. These cowards don’t want a gunfight. They want to kill defenseless people. When they are confronted by anyone who has a chance of winning, they fold. The mere threat of police arrival caused this shooter to off himself. Do not discount the effect of resistance in any form!
I’m hoping that more details will come out in this case. Pay attention and see what you can learn.