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How unusual are female mass shooters? Very rare, says expert

Posted: 4:02 PM, Sep 21, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-21 20:04:12Z

There have been three workplace shootings in just 24 hours. As investigators continue their investigations, one shooting in particular stands out.

Thursday, a worker at a Maryland Rite Aid distribution center shot six people, killing three of them. The unusual suspect in the case: a woman, who then killed herself.

“Females, in general, as mass shooters is particularly rare,” says Jaclyn Schildkraut, a criminologist and national expert on mass shootings research. “96 percent of shootings involve male perpetrators. If we look back from 1966 to today, we've only had 16 cases that involve females.”

Earlier this year, another high-profile case involving a woman shooter occurred at YouTube’s headquarters. A woman shot three people, before killing herself.

“There tends to be a quick conversation when it comes to female shooters,” explains Schildkraut. “Trying to almost minimize their actions. That they're disgruntled or hormonal or something of that nature. But in a lot of cases, their motivations tend to follow or mirror the pathways that the male perpetrators do as well.”

What qualifies as a mass shooting is often debated. However, experts say there's one trend that's most common: the location of shootings.

“Workplaces are the most common, followed by schools, which makes sense because these are places perpetrators have access to,” Schildkraut says. “They know the ebbs and flows of when people are coming and going. They usually have easy access to these locations, even if they're formally associated with them.”

Police have not released a motive for Thursday’s shooting at this time.