The 18-year-old white man who opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, killing 10 and injuring three, was first known to authorities in 2021, according to Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia, after he made a general threat. while he went to his high school.
New York State Police took the suspect to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation after he made a threat and worked on a school project called murder-suicide. But authorities released him after a day and a half after determining that his threat was not specific enough to warrant further action, investigators previously said. This allowed him to legally purchase the AR-15-style weapon he used in the attack.
The case of the Buffalo suspect — who pleaded not guilty to the 25 count charges against him — illustrates how at-risk adolescents, left untreated and unsupervised, can fall through the cracks of the system that aims to disrupt potentially violent behavior , causing those young people to commit deadly acts of violence, several experts tell DailyExpertNews.
Experts researching and developing approaches to long-term treatment of troubled teens say they need intensive services over a long period of time with mental health agencies, the community and law enforcement.
High-risk adolescents are characterized by antisocial dysfunction, social withdrawal, depressed mood and a lack of empathy or remorse, according to a National Policing Institute report released earlier this year on dealing with high-risk adolescents in community settings. Those who radicalize by extremist groups or harbor dangerous, racist views, experts say, need a more complex treatment plan that seeks to address the root causes of their ideology and completely reshape their mindset.
The police’s role in dealing with high-risk adolescents is to respond to a pronounced or imminent threat of danger, arrest or transport to a psychiatric or crisis center for an evaluation, according to Frank Straub, director of the National Policing Institute. (NPI) Center for Targeted Violence Prevention.
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