Expert Surprised Newtown Gunman Preyed On Little Children - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Expert Surprised Newtown Gunman Preyed On Little Children

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FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) -

The Dean of the California School of Forensic Studies says killing young children in a school is extremely rare.

Dr. Eric Hickey is considered an expert in the study of mass killings. "Usually when people do mass murders at least half of them suffer from a mental illness, some form of mental illness. They tend to go off and just do these random attacks."

We may never know what prompted the 20-year-old shooter to go crazy with a gun at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Dr. Eric Hickey has written a number of books about serial murders and their victims. He was shocked to hear the gunman preyed on such young children. "He picked a target that he knew could not get away. Little children, 5 year olds what could they do? They wouldn't know what to do."

Hickey has studied school shootings in the U.S. from 1966 to 2011. What stands out the most is the figure for elementary schools. In the past 45 years only 14 students have been killed on campus. Friday that figure nearly doubled as 20 students were gunned down.

Mass murderers kill for a number of reasons and Hickey theorizes why the gunman may have killed his mother. "It could have been he already planned to do the mass murder and as a result he didn't want his mother or his father or parents to be there afterward so he killed them in his mind out of mercy."

The FBI considers mass murders to be four or more deaths, and in the U.S. Eric Hickey says they happen on average once a week. 

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