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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some local college students have teamed up with the Pittsburgh FBI Office.
The students are brainstorming, trying to identify potential red flags as they document similarities in previous, what they call “active shooter incidents,” in the hopes of heading off similar tragedies in the future.
A small group of grad students at the University of Pittsburgh, who share an interest in future careers in intelligence and law enforcement, get together weekly on campus to discuss what they’ve learned or uncovered about previous shooting incidents and shooters. They’re searching for common denominators that might show trends or similarities.
At the end of the semester, they share their information with the local FBI Division.
Greg Nelson is an assistant special FBI agent in charge of cyber and intelligence.
“It’s intelligence collection. If we feel we can intervene and identify someone in that age group prior to criminal acts being committed, there are different ways we can intervene through counseling service, through conversations, to get them off that path,” Nelson said.
Pitt grad student Jimmy Newman, a native of Philadelphia, is a part of the group taking part in the “active shooter” project.
“We’re not looking for people, we’re looking for indicators, like increased rhetoric on the internet, changes in behavior, increased aggression and aggression,” Nelson said.
Dr. Michael Kenney, the group’s academic advisor, said, “We’re not engaged in looking at specific individuals, trying to identify people, this is basic academic research, looking at general patterns.”
The student group reports its finding to the FBI, and they do it independent of any government agency involvement.
“We want to make Pittsburgh, and by extension our country, a little bit safer. So, if we can contribute to do that, through research and partnering with the FBI, we’re happy to do that,” Dr. Kenney said.