Psychotherapist: Spotting the Warning Signs is Key Before a Mass Shooting

The motive of a 19-year-old man who is suspected of killing at least 17 people at a Florida high school remains unclear but a psychotherapist from Massachusetts says there may have been warning signs.

Dr. Karen Ruskin says the key to figuring out why a deadly shooting rampage like Wednesday's happened, is to try and spot warning signs and to help someone before violence ensues.

Ruskin says an adolescent who is suicidal or homicidal has typically already displayed some type of abnormal behavior.

"Do you want to know what the number one warning sign is? They say they’re not feeling well, they say want to hurt somebody, they say they want to hurt themselves," said Ruskin.

She said the number one rule is to get them help right away. If someone is showing signs of depression, signs of no remorse, signs of isolation then they must be helped, she says.

In this most recent shooting Ruskin says more information is still needed because unlike other mass shootings, the gunman is still alive.

Florida authorities said the suspect entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a gas mask and smoke grenades and set off a fire alarm. At least 17 people were shot as students and staff were sent fleeing from the building.

"There’s a big difference between somebody who wants to kill others and there’s a decision that one has made to do that, and want to live after it, and want to focused on after it, and be talked about after it, and have a legacy versus someone who doesn’t want to live," said Ruskin.

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