This FBI Study Shows Just How Rare Female Mass Shooters Are


By Jamie Ducharme

When an active shooter was reported at YouTube’s San Bruno, Calif., headquarters on Tuesday, it became the latest in a string of chilling incidents that have begun to feel all too familiar.

But the YouTube incident had one major difference from other recent tragedies: It involved a female suspected shooter, 39-year-old San Diego resident Nasim Aghdam. Aghdam was found dead at the scene from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Though law enforcement officials have not identified a possible motive in the YouTube shooting, Aghdam was a prolific YouTube user — and a vocal critic of the site, which she claimed “discriminated and filtered” her videos to reduce their viewership.

While there’s no such thing as a profile of a mass shooter, female perpetrators are exceedingly rare, according to a 2014 study by the FBI. The study, which examined 160 active shooter incidents that occurred in the U.S. between 2000 and 2013, found that just 3.8% of these attacks — six in total — involved a female shooter. An additional three incidents involving female shooters occurred between 2014 and 2016, according to FBI records.

The most recent mass shooting involving a woman, according to the Washington Post, was the deadly 2015 attack on an office party in San Bernardino, Calif., which left 14 people dead.



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