Learning from the Geneseo Murders
On Sunday, January 17, 2016, just around the same time that our weekly blog was being completed and refined for release, we were troubled to learn about a very sad incident that occurred in Geneseo, New York. Earlier that morning, 24-year-old Colin Kingston had murdered his former girlfriend, 21-year-old Kelsey Annese and another man, 24-year-old Matthew Hutchinson. Kingston committed the murders with a knife, and after a brief call to his father saying that he had “brought harm” to Annese, Kingston turned the knife on himself.
First and foremost, I want to be sensitive to a community that is hurting right now. Geneseo is in a great deal of pain, as they have lost three young adults to a senseless crime. As I write this, I do so thinking of my own children and how devastated I would be if this happened to them. I am genuinely sorry to those affected by the tragedy that has occurred.
As I am sure the town of Geneseo can agree, no one wants something so horrific to occur again. As such, it is important that we try to learn from this incident. We cannot let what happened in Geneseo become another news story that we forget about tomorrow.
Police and media report that Kingston and Annese had been romantically involved for just over three years. Prior to their break-up, Kingston was described as a hard worker and someone who never complained. His former high school basketball coach praised Kingston, and was shocked and saddened by the events. The news further reported that Kingston had been seen a few hours before the murders in a local bar area and had spoken to several people about ending his life.
Studies show that sudden changes in a person’s life (for the worse) are a dominant catalyst for stimulating rampage violence. When it is coupled with suicidal tendencies, and the possibility that alcohol may have been involved, Colin Kingston showed strong indicators that he needed help prior to the attack. Whoever Kingston told that he was feeling urges to kill himself should have contacted authorities immediately and not let that young man out of his/her sight.
The U.S. Secret Service Safe School Initiative outlines that an astounding 98% of cases involving threat-related violence in young adults stemmed from a sudden, traumatic change in the attacker’s life. Further studies into violent attackers across the national community suggest similar findings. It is quite simply the most important indicator to watch for to prevent rampage violence.
We as a community owe it to our future to be ever vigilant of such sudden changes in others, and then to notify authorities as soon as possible about those concerns. Proactive attention is the best answer to preventing violent attacks like the tragedy that befell Geneseo.
If you have any questions about Threat Assessment Training and how it can help put a stop to senseless school violence, please contact National Advancements for Proactive Safety, Inc. by calling 410-381-8003. We believe a proactive approach to be the best tool in the fight against school violence.
Jason Wells is the President and Founder of the National Advancements for Proactive Safety, an educational non-profit organization committed to providing a safe community through intervention processes. He is a former Special Agent with the United States Secret Service, and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors in Strategic Security and Protection Management. Mr. Wells is currently pursuing his doctorate in Strategic Security with a focus on proactive interventions to stop threat-related behavior. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.