In the wake of the Colorado movie theater shootings — with a 24-year-old gunman allegedly opening fire during a screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, leaving many dead and wounded — many Americans may wonder whether a shooter can be spotted before they commit a violent act.
Are there signs, symptoms, a profile? Can parents safeguard their children from these people — or be sure their child is not developing into one?
WebMD turned to Jack Levin, PhD, the Irving and Betty Brudnick Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University in Boston. He has written numerous books on violence, including Serial Killers and Sadistic Murderers — Up Close and Personal, and Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder.