There's that other detail: the YouTube shooter was a woman. In 158 of the 160 incidents the FBI reviewed, there was a single shooter. In 154 of those incidents, the shooters were men.
Several years ago, the FBI released an analysis of 160 “active shooter” incidents that had occurred in the United States from 2000 to 2013. The agency assessed where such incidents occurred, the damage done and how each was resolved.
Comparing the shooting incident at YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California, on Tuesday with the FBI’s patterns, it’s remarkable how that incident matched the most common incidents analyzed by the FBI — with one key exception.
For example, the plurality of the incidents occurred at places of commerce, generally businesses.
Of the incidents that happened at places of business, most were at businesses that were open to pedestrian traffic. YouTube’s headquarters itself isn’t — but the outdoor area where the shooting apparently took place was.
Most of the shooters involved in those incidents weren’t employed by the company where the shooting took place. About a quarter of the shooters were previously employed by the business. In this case, the shooter, Nasim Aghdam, had a former business relationship with YouTube in that she apparently had been cut off from its revenue-sharing system. That very modern relationship between content creator and website isn’t broken out in the FBI’s analysis.
But then there’s that other detail: Aghdam was a woman. In 158 of the 160 incidents the FBI reviewed, there was a single shooter. In 154 of those incidents, the shooters were men.
It seems that the situation at YouTube was resolved in the most common way determined by the FBI. Aghdam apparently took her own life before police arrived. An analysis of 154 of the shooting incidents shows that a suicide before police arrived was the most common resolution to active shooter incidents, happening 37 times.
That breakdown of resolutions also shows that most weren’t resolved as a function of police intervention. In 90 incidents, the FBI determined, the situation was resolved when the shooter gave up, fled or took his own life. In 21 incidents, unarmed civilians stopped the shooter, with 11 of those incidents occurring at schools.
In about 3 in 10 incidents, the shooter and police exchanged gunfire. In about half of those incidents, the shooter was killed.
There are patterns to these incidents. Given the political moment, there was a great deal of speculation about why a shooting incident might have happened at YouTube and why it might have been targeted. Less than 24 hours after the incident, it’s premature to say that we know precisely why the shooting occurred. But based on what we know, it matches the profile that the FBI suggested was typical in similar incidents.
The most obvious exception is the gender of the perpetrator.