Why So Many Mass Shooters Have Domestic Violence in Their Past

Source: Time

Jun 14, 2017

James T. Hodgkinson, who injured Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and several others when he opened fire on Republican members of Congress and aides at a baseball practice Wednesday morning, had at least one thing in common with many other mass shooters: an alleged history of violence against women.

Eleven years before he stepped up to that Alexandria baseball field, Hodgkinson was arrested for domestic battery and discharge of a firearm after he allegedly punched his daughter’s friend and shot at the friend’s boyfriend, according to a 2006 police report reviewed by TIME. The police report also describes him throwing his daughter “around the bedroom,” and “hitting her arms, pulling hair.” Once the daughter got into her car to attempt to flee, the police report says Hodgkinson was “choking” her “while she was holding onto the steering wheel” and he attempted to cut her seat belt. The charges were ultimately dismissed.

Hodgkinson, who was killed by police in Wednesday’s shooting, is the latest in a line of shooters who have a history of alleged family violence. According to a comprehensive analysis by Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for tighter restrictions on guns, 54% of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016 were directly related to domestic or family violence — meaning that a current partner or family member is one of the victims. In one of those cases, Cedric Anderson walked into his new wife’s elementary school classroom in San Bernandino, Calif. in April and killed her, an 8-year old special needs student, and himself.

But even among the other 46% of mass shootings that don’t directly involve an intimate partner, many of the attackers have a violent misogynistic incident in their past. The Everytown study found that 42% of all mass shooters had exhibited at least one warning sign, such as a prior violent act or domestic violence incident.

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