Warning signs someone could commit violent attack; how to react

Dylan O'Neill, 15, facing, hugs James Bolger, 16, both students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School at the conclusion of a vigil at the Parkland Baptist Church, for the victims of the Wednesday shooting at the school. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said the quickest and easiest starting point to prevent massacres like the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is, “If you see something, say something.”

“One community member who sees something can do more in one phone call than law enforcement can do in months,” said Israel.

Last year, a tip to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office may have stopped a mass shooting.

Bernandino Bolatete was arrested in December after an investigation spawned by a confidential tipster, who told JSO that Bolatete said he planned to shoot up the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida.

Jacksonville mother Adair Currie is teaching her daughter at a young age the importance of speaking up.

“That’s what I want to cultivate in her as she gets older is, you know, 'If you see something, say something. And if you don’t feel comfortable, you need to voice that,'” said Currie.

A JSO spokesperson said the following warning signs could indicate someone may be capable of a violent attack:

  • Loss of temper on a daily basis
  • Frequent physical fighting
  • Significant vandalism or property damage
  • Increase in the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Increase in risk-taking behavior
  • Detailed plans to commit acts of violence
  • Announcing threats or plans for hurting others
  • Enjoying hurting animals
  • Carrying a weapon

Anyone can report suspicious behavior to local law enforcement or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but parents may be hesitant report their own child to police.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a law enforcement issue. But it could just mean, 'Come in and let’s have a conversation to see, do you need some assistance?'” said Kim Sirdevan, the president and COE of the Youth Crisis Center on Jacksonville’s Southside.

The center has a 24-7 crisis hotline.

Sirdevan said it’s important to identify warning signs at a young age and take action.

“Ignoring it could lead to something fatal,” said Sirdevan.

If you want to report any red flags, you can contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.

To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

You can call the Jacksonville FBI Office at 904-248-7000 or submit tips online, here.

Click here to contact other FBI offices.

Click here for the main FBI tips page.

To contact the Jacksonville’s Youth Crisis Center, call 904-725-6662.