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Warning signs in online postings missed before recent mass shootings

New evidence indicates that as early as 2019, suspected gunman In the 4th of July parade shooting In Highland Park, Illinois, a suicide attempt and threats of physical violence were reported. At that time, 16 knives, a dagger and a sword were confiscated, but local investigators hit roadblocks.

“There have been no complaints by any of the victims,” ​​Lake County Major Crime Squad spokesman Chris Coveley said on Tuesday.

The videos removed by the suspect also glorify the mass shootings of his digital followers. Scott Soweto, a former FBI and ATF investigator, told CBS News that a digital tsunami is coming upon investigators.

“One of the biggest challenges is, how do you get past this huge amount of information and tease out the things out there that might get in the way for the next multiplayer shooter?” asked Sweetow, adding that the online content was “extremely violent.”

All three suspects in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket shooting in May, a Elementary school attack In Yuvaldi, Texas last month, and now the Highland Park shooting on Monday, they were young adults — 21 or younger — with an online presence.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia It has “red flag” laws. which permits a request for the temporary removal of firearms from individuals who may pose a danger to themselves or others. But Soweto said these laws mean little if law enforcement is not informed of the alarming online activity.

“No matter how good the law is, and how much money the federal government puts into it, if people don’t pick up the phone or use the keypad and tell law enforcement what they saw, red flags are pretty much useless,” he said.

While there is no hard and fast rule, Sweetow said a number of indicators can be troubling, such as reclusive people who idealize violence and arm themselves.

“When you feel the hair erect on the back of your neck, you really need to take that step and notify law enforcement,” he said. “Notify someone in authority so they can decide what to do next.”

These so-called lone wolf attacks can be among the most difficult to disrupt, because suspects can very quickly cross the threshold from online hate speech, which can have First Amendment protections, to violence.

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