The term IPV – or intimate partner violence - offers a way to predict mass shootings based on a history of domestic violence.
Experts say the perpetrators of mass killings are not always mentally ill. In some cases, it may actually have been collateral domestic violence in which the suspect is trying to hurt a loved one by wounding others.
The Texas church shooter, Devin Kelly, had been convicted of domestic violence against his wife and young child. Records show he fractured the child’s skull. There were also reports of animal abuse.
According to authorities, he carefully planned his attack, investigating church times and transportation. He gathered weapons and ammunition as well as protective clothing.
According to Lori Post, a violence researcher at Northwestern University, it was a classic case of escalating domestic violence due to feelings of loss of control.
Typically the trigger is when a spouse or partner leaves the offender.
And those who study violence extensively say, by writing these cases off to mental illness or post traumatic stress disorder, we are in danger of normalizing violence that might otherwise have been prevented.
The most dangerous abusers are those who attack multiple victims. In Kelly’s case a mother and child. Experts say it is a significant social and public health threat because of the pervasiveness of domestic abuse and the tendency to hide the crime and not prosecute the offender.