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YouTube Shooting Suspect Is an Anomaly: She’s a She

Almost all mass shootings are carried out by men

If the woman suspected of the shooting at YouTube headquarters is proven to be the shooter, she will be a very rare woman in the grim history of mass shootings: Almost all of them are carried out by men.

San Bruno Police Department Chief Ed Barberini said Tuesday that the woman found dead at YouTube headquarters in California appeared to have acted alone. He said the suspect was found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. At least three other people were wounded.

On Tuesday night, CNN identified the suspect as Nasim Aghdam.

A Mother Jones study of mass shooters since 1982 found that of about 100 mass shooters, only two were women, and one was by a woman who shot alongside a man.

As the New York Times noted in a February headline: “Mass Shooters Are All Different. Except for One Thing: Most Are Men.”

A Politico story in January was even more blunt: “Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Mass Shootings; Blame Men,” read the headline.

Armed femme fatales may be a Hollywood trope, but in real life, men are far deadlier.

One thing the YouTube suspect has in common with the three female mass shooters in recent years: All attacked in California.

Jennifer San Marco, one of the female mass shooters, killed eight people in 2006 in Goleta, near Santa Barbara. She was a postal worker who believed her colleagues were conspiring against her, police said. (In a weird coincidence, I covered the shooting.)

In 2014, Cherie Louise Rhoades killed four people at the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Headquarters in Northern California, near the Oregon line.

In December 2014, married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a Christmas party for San Bernardino County health employees.

Gun-control advocates often highlight an overlap between men who commit domestic abuse and men who commit mass shootings. Everytown for Gun Safety found that 57 percent of mass shooters from 2009 to 2015 shot a spouse, ex or relative. The group also said about 16 percent of gunmen in mass shootings were previously charged with domestic violence, the Times noted.

Police say they don’t yet know the suspected motive of the YouTube shooter. It’s possible they never will.