Retired Philly FBI agent: Likely someone missed clues in mass shooters' behavior

Mark Abrams
August 05, 2019 - 10:36 am
FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A retired Philadelphia FBI supervisory agent says federal investigators with expertise in domestic terrorism are now trying to learn what motivated the two gunmen to commit the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, and whether those who knew them missed troubling clues just before they carried out the massacres.

J.J. Klaver, a security consultant, worked for the FBI for more than 25 years, and has experience in domestic terrorism cases.

He says there appears to be a trail that runs through white supremacist affiliations or sympathies and social media websites for at least one of the shooters.

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In the case of the El Paso gunman, Klaver says, reports based on the suspect's own alleged manifesto posted before he began his deadly rampage clearly show a grudge against some ethnic groups.

He says authorities want to know: "What led up to the shootings. What drove these individuals to acquire the weapons, make the plans and then execute the plans."

Klaver says those behind such acts usually telegraph their intentions, and it's likely someone knew the shooters in El Paso and Dayton were about to do something but ignored warning signs. It's very rare for someone plotting such events to make their plans in a vacuum, Klaver says.

"They're almost always somebody or some people who are aware of plans as they develop and opinions and attitudes that people might be espousing that can certainly raise a red flag for a potential propensity for committing actual violence."

Anyone who see signs of trouble shouldn't hesitate to speak up, Klaver says.

"If they are concerned about someone's behavior or the opinions and attitudes that someone is expressing, and they feel someone is going down a road that's going to lead to actual violence, that should be reported to authorities so authorities can take the appropriate steps to protect the public."

He says if authorities are tipped off, there is time to intervene.

"Authorities become aware of potential plans being made and through undercover operations and the uses of cooperating sources and undercover agents can insert themselves in these plans and prevent them. And that happens all the time."