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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Neil Prescott: The First Aurora Shooting Spree Copycat

     Less than a week following the July 20, 2012 mass murder in Aurora, Colorado, 28-year-old Neil E. Prescott, a disgruntled employee of a company doing contract work for the Pitney Bowles Corporation near Washington, D.C., phoned his supervisor, and calling himself a Joker, said, "I'm going to load my guns and blow everyone up."

     On Thursday night, July 26, officers with the Prince George's County Police Department arrested Prescott at his apartment in Crofton, Maryland, a town located between Washington, D.C. and Annapolis. A search of Prescott's apartment resulted in the seizure of 25 guns, several of which were assault rifles. The officers also found 400 rounds of ammunition.

     Prescott, a big man at six foot, seven inches tall and weighing 270 pounds, knew he was about to be fired from his job. The avid gun collector interested in electronics and computers, is currently being held at the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis where he's undergoing psychiatric evaluation.

     In my opinion, one of the consequences of televised over-coverage of cases like the Aurora shootings includes encouraging copycats like Neil Prescott. (See: "Media Over-Coverage of the Aurora Movie Theater Shootings," July 24, 2012.) One doesn't need a crystal ball to predict there will be more terroristic threats and attempts inspired by the media attention lavished on James Holmes. The question is, how many more Jokers are still in the deck?

UPDATE

     On Sunday, July 29, 2012, Kent State University Police arrested 19-year-old William Koberna at his parents' home in Brunswick, Ohio. On July 25, Koberna had posted a message on Twitter saying that he planned to "shoot up" the campus. 

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