Baltimore County Officials Seek to Identify Threats

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Monday, September 17, 2012

As he rode the morning school bus and sat in first-period class Tuesday, the 13-year-old student at Stemmers Run Middle School in Essex gave no indication that he had a cellphone-size gun in his pocket โ€” much less that he planned to pull it on his classmates and teacher, according to official reports.

But other clues โ€” vaguely alarming comments to classmates, unorthodox or unusual changes in behavior โ€” were likely there in the preceding days, weeks or months, waiting to be identified and pieced into a pattern, say experts on school shootings.

"One hundred percent of kids broadcast intent beforehand," said James McGee, retired director of psychology and forensic services at Sheppard Pratt Hospital and former chief psychologist of the Baltimore County Police Department. "Perfectly normal people don't suddenly snap and take a gun into school."

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