DALLAS (CBS11) – While domestic violence is not a predictor of mass shootings; data suggests there is a connection.
The FBI reports 54 percent of mass shootings relate back to domestic or family violence.
Most recently in Sutherland Springs, suspected shooter Devin Kelley also had a history of domestic violence.
Kelley, who killed 26 people, was convicted of beating his then wife and step son during his time in the Air Force. He was also investigated for domestic assault and authorities said Kelley most recently threatened his former mother in law.
“It’s another loss that we didn’t prevent,” said Paige Flink, the CEO of women’s shelter The Family Place. “It’s hard to tie one to the other because the majority of abusers are not going to be mass killers. But when they are it is so devastating.”
Flink said when the threats go beyond a partner and spill over into surrounding family members, those behaviors need to be considered.
“Once they’ve gone past, ‘you’re my possession,’ and it suddenly becomes, ‘all you people are my possession,’…those are things that could be warning signs,” said Flink.
Professor Natalie Nanasi at SMU’s School of Law said the shooters in Sutherland Springs, Orlando Pulse Nightclub, the Plano Cowboys football watch party and the attack at the Congressional baseball practice in Virginia all had a history of domestic or family violence.
“Domestic violence in homes is a psychological training ground for a massing shooting,” said Nanasi.
She said why everyone should be even more concerned is that people are being killed who are not even involved in family disputes.
“It’s a problem of domestic abuse. It’s a problem of violence in the home that is spilling over into violence in society,” said Nanasi.
If society does not combat the root causes of domestic violence, Nanasi does not expect scenes like the one in Sutherland Spring to stop anytime soon.
Both Nanasi and Flink also feel strongly that more can be done to get guns out of the hands of abusers.