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Severe Mental Illness, Somatic Delusions, and Attempted Mass Murder

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A case of an attempted mass shooting at a large psychiatric hospital in the United States by a 30‐year‐old male with severe mental illness, somatic delusions, and exceptional access to healthcare professionals is reported. Six persons were shot, one died at the scene, and the shooter was then killed by the police. Data were gathered from court documents and media accounts. An analysis of the shooter's psychiatric history, his interactions with healthcare professionals, and communications prior to the shooting suggest a rare form of mass murder, a random attack by a documented psychotic and delusional individual suffering with somatic delusions. Despite his being psychotic, the killer planned the attack and made a direct threat 1┬ámonth prior to the shootings. This case highlights problems with the healthcare system, indicating that it might be ill equipped to appropriately deal with severe mental illness.
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Keywords: attempted mass murder; delusions; forensic science; health personnel; psychosis; somatic delusions

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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