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EKU clinical forensic psychologist says mass murder motives are often complicated

EKU Psychologist Dustin Wygant
EKU Psychologist Dustin Wygant

Northern Kentucky was the scene of a tragic weekend shooting that took the lives of five people.

Those fatally shot at the party around 3:00 a.m. were ages 19,20,20, and 44. The perpetrator, 21, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after crashing his car. Dustin Wygant is a clinical forensic psychologist. He conducts criminal defendant evaluations, about 50 annually. Wygant said causes of such crimes are complicated.

“People can become quite hopeless. And when people become quite hopeless and feel like there’s nothing left to lose their behaviors can become quite fatalistic,” said Wygant.

Realizing there’s no one simple solution, Wygant said it’s important to pay attention to each other. The EKU psychologist said perpetrators in these violent crimes can feel highly alienated just prior to acting.

Wygant said these tragic cases are sometimes tied to extreme anger and a feeling of no way out plus a feeling of being isolated.

“And when people become kind of withdrawn alienated from others that disconnect can be a really powerful influence toward this ultimate behavior. Again that kind of fatalistic thinking, a lot of it drives from feeling disconnected from others,” said Wygant.

Wygant noted there are a myriad of issues that can come into play when this type of criminal act occurs. He added he’s not sure if it’s a general lessening of the value of life, but it can reach a point of doing things that the offender might not otherwise think of doing.

Here's more with clinical forensic psychologist Dustin Wygant:


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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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