Livestreaming Of Mass Shootings Becoming Common

When a 25-year old gunman stormed the Old National Bank in Louisville, Kentucky, this week he was armed with an assault rifle and a cell phone that was broadcasting his every move.

Experts tell 1200 WOAI news, this trend of attacks being streamed over social media is disturbing.

"People want to be famous and they don't really care whether it's for a positive or negative thing," Pete Blair says. "For people who are not successful in other parts of their lives, this is a way to get recognized."

Blair heads the ALERRT Center at Texas State University, which trains law enforcement on how to respond to active shooters. He tells WOAI's Michael Board that the broadcast of attacks over social media has been growing. One of the most high profile examples was the 2019 attack at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. The gunman streamed the massacre over Facebook. Last year, the man who shot up a supermarket in Buffalo, New York tried to livestream the rampage on Twitch, but it was quickly shut down. A shooter in Memphis, Tennessee, livestreamed his attack, too.

During a press conference on Monday, Louisville Metro Police Department interim Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel confirmed the gunman was live on Instagram.

"The suspect was livestreaming and unfortunately that's tragic to know that that incident was out there and captured," she said.

Meta, which is the parent company of Instagram, said in a statement that the video has been removed.

Blair says it's almost impossible to prevent the streaming of attacks. They're often over before the sites are notified and can react. In the case of the Louisville shooting, it took just one minute for a gunman to complete his deadly rampage.

"It's upsetting that they might be able to get more recognition, or exposure, because we think that encourages other people to do similar things."

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