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What We Can, and Can’t, Glean from the Dayton Shooter’s Online Behavior

We don’t yet know the motive that animated the shooter who opened fire early Sunday morning in Dayton, Ohio, leaving nine victims including his own sister dead and nearly 30 more wounded. A day earlier, a mass shooter killed 20 people and injured dozens more in El Paso, Texas, but he made his motivation clear minutes before his attack, posting a manifesto on 8chan announcing his “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

No manifesto or statement of purpose has surfaced from the Dayton shooter. His Twitter profile, which has since been suspended, is insufficient to establish a motive. But he left a footprint behind, both online and in the real world. He was highly active on Twitter, having “liked” more than 220,000 tweets in the time he had an account. He referred to himself as an atheist and a Satanist — and had a history, former classmates say, of making violent threats. “He loved to look at you and pretend to shoot with guns, guns with his hands,” a female student, who once turned the shooter down for a date, told CNN.

And, per a report from Heavy early Monday morning, the gunman “was a self-described ‘leftist,’ who wrote that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, ‘I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.’”

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