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Greater Cincinnati Fusion Center sorts through tips to prevent future attacks

Posted at 8:09 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-05 20:09:25-04

CINCINNATI — Some mass shootings arrive without warning, Capt. Ted Sampson said Monday. Most don’t. At the Greater Cincinnati Fusion Center, he and a team of statewide analysts gather tips and investigate intelligence they hope will prevent future massacres.

They need the public’s help to do it.

“We worry about missing something,” he said. “Was there something out there that somebody saw that they didn’t report?”

Common warning signs before attacks like the one that claimed nine lives Sunday in Dayton include increasingly erratic behavior, hostility and the expression of “observable grievances” against specific groups or people, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Police said Monday they didn’t know whether Dayton shooter Connor Betts had been behaving strangely before he killed nine people, including his sister, in the city’s historic Oregon District.

The perpetrators of other recent attacks, however, fit the pattern: The 21-year-old man who killed 22 in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday had posted a racist, hate-filled manifesto on a far-right website shortly before he did it. James Alex Fields, who killed anti-racist activist Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia, had a history of violence and professed admiration for the Third Reich.

Sampson said he wants to encourage anyone with suspicions about a friend, neighbor or family member to contact the fusion center.

His team will sort through the tips it receives to determine which are credible and what law enforcement should do.

“If it’s possible, it’s credible,” he said. “So we err on the side of caution when it comes to that. If it’s even remotely possible that it’s a valid threat. We will pass that information on.

“You can’t prevent everything,” he added. “But you can be prepared the best you can.”

Anyone can contact the Greater Cincinnati Fusion Center by phone at (513) 263-8000 or online by submitting a tip at this link.