FBI director orders nationwide searches for potential mass shooting threats

The head of the FBI has ordered the agency's field offices across the country to conduct a new threat assessment in their areas in the wake of mass shootings in California, Ohio and Texas.

Sources say Director Chris Wray has stood up a command group at bureau headquarters in Washington to oversee the effort while field offices are actively working to identify threats similar to the recent mass attacks.

The FBI had already established the Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell earlier this year, focusing on white supremacists and hate crimes.

Less than two weeks ago, Wray spoke to a Senate panel and warned about the threat of "lone wolf" gunmen - particularly, those driven by white supremacist ideology. Wray added that he still believes "homegrown violent extremism" presents the greatest threat to the U.S. homeland, referring to those in the country who are radicalized to violence by international jihadist movements.

In May, Wray told a congressional committee that the FBI was pursuing 1,000 investigations into suspected "lone wolf" militants and another 1,000 probes into "domestic terrorists."

The FBI released the following statement regarding the El Paso and Dayton shootings:

"The attack in El Paso, Texas, underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes. The FBI is supporting its state and local partners in Texas through investigative, intelligence, and technical assistance. The El Paso investigation is also being supported by the FBI's Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell, which was established in spring 2019. Composed of subject matter experts from both the Criminal Investigative and Counterterrorism Divisions, the fusion cell offers program coordination from FBI Headquarters, helps ensure seamless information sharing across divisions, and augments investigative resources.

The FBI is also providing assistance to the Dayton (Ohio) Police Department's investigation into the shooting in Dayton, through the Bureau's Cincinnati Field Office, with support from FBI Headquarters personnel.

"On behalf of the FBI, I offer sincere condolences to the victims, families, and communities affected by this weekend's violence, and we stand by them during this difficult time. We will bring the full resources of the FBI to bear in the pursuit of justice for the victims of these crimes." said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "I am proud of our state and local law enforcement partners and the immediate response of FBI agents, analysts, and professional staff, working in close coordination to assist them. I have been in contact with the president and the attorney general, and they both have expressed their support for the FBI's work in the wake of these tragedies."

The FBI remains concerned that U.S.-based domestic violent extremists could become inspired by these and previous high-profile attacks to engage in similar acts of violence. The FBI asks the American public to report to law enforcement any suspicious activity that is observed either in person or online."


CNN contributed to this story.
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