Portrait of a school shooter: A threat assessment perspective

Wanda Shelton Sisk, Tennessee State University


More than eighteen school shootings have occurred in America in the last ten years. This descriptive case study looked at one school, one school shooter, and one geographic area of the country in an attempt to determine if the shooter in Lincoln County, Tennessee on May 19, 1998 did actually match the profiles currently being developed by national organizations. This study used interviews, documents, and archival items in the analysis of a school shooting. Factors present in the shooter's life that led to the shooting, social factors present at Lincoln County High School, and signs or leakage prior to the shooting were examined. The bully-victim-bystander triad was examined as it related to the shooting in Lincoln County. Information concerning school cliques and adolescent emotional attachment to the opposite sex was presented. The school shooter's possible rating on the National School Safety Center's (NSSC) list of 20 potential indicators for violent behavior was reported and analyzed. The FBI's four-pronged approach to threat assessment was examined as it related to this shooting. Interviews with the shooter were used to help determine threat assessment.

Subject Area

School administration|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Wanda Shelton Sisk, "Portrait of a school shooter: A threat assessment perspective" (2002). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3061784.