TERRORISMSecret Service's Research Highlights Mass Violence Motivated by Misogyny

Published 17 March 2022

The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) released a new analysis highlighting the role of misogyny in targeted violence.

The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) released Hot Yoga Tallahassee: A Case Study of Misogynistic Extremism, a new analysis highlighting the role of misogyny in targeted violence.

Hot Yoga Tallahassee: A Case Study of Misogynistic Extremism is a case study examining the 2018 shooting at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, during which two women were killed, four more were injured, and the attacker committed suicide. The case study provides a detailed look into the attacker’s background and personal history, presenting decades of prior concerning behaviors, many of which were directed at women. While the attacker had previously pursued higher education, served in the military, and held highly regarded professional positions of trust, his behavior had caused alarm among his parents, siblings, friends, roommates, coworkers, workplace managers, school officials, students, law enforcement, the online community, neighbors, and other community members.

“The latest case study by the National Threat Assessment Center examines the background of an attacker who displayed decades of disturbing misogynistic behavior, ranging from inappropriate comments and touching, to stalking and assaults,” said U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center Chief Dr. Lina Alathari. “Communities must remain aware of misogynistic extremism, while pursuing prevention efforts that are designed to identify and intervene with those who pose a risk of violence.”

The case study published today closely examines the specific threat posed by misogynistic extremism, while stressing that an individual’s behavior should remain the primary focus of violence prevention efforts, regardless of whether or not the individual subscribes to a specific extremist ideology or self-affixes a label to their extremist beliefs.

As concluded in previous research, there continues to be no single profile of an attacker. Rather, attackers tend to demonstrate observable concerning behavior across a variety of community systems, which often elicits concern in bystanders before violence occurs. This case study describes how the attacker’s misogynistic views and associated behaviors resulted in him being fired from multiple jobs, banned from public locations, and being arrested.

The case study also sets forth that a multidisciplinary threat assessment program established at the community level may reduce the risk of future tragedies if the appropriate systems are in place to identity warning signs, assess an individual’s risk of violence, and apply the appropriate community resources. Such proactive safety programs have been established by workplaces, universities, local police departments, and other organizations with a role in public safety.

The Secret Service says it will continue to build on our threat assessment methodology and provide research findings and guidance to public and private sectors, to enhance the prevention efforts of those charged with safeguarding our nation.