It made no sense when Aaron Kyle Huff, a pizza delivery man, strolled into an early-morning party after a rave in Seattle three months ago and shot eight people at random, killing six before he turned his shotgun on himself, says the New York Times. With the victims buried and the killings solved, there seemed little for the police to do. Instead of closing the book, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske took the rare step of hiring criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University. Fox, 54, is described by the Times as the author of 16 books, an adviser to former President Bill Clinton and a frequent couch mate to Oprah Winfrey.
Usually, Fox is called on to make sense out of crime statistics. Now, Fox has been acting as a detective of sorts. Assisted by a panel, he has been lucky that family members of the victims, as well as Huff’s mother and twin brother, who were unavailable for interviews for this article, have spoken to him. Kerlikowske hired Fox largely because he thought people who would not talk to the police would open up to a professor. In about a week, Fox will present his findings to the police. He is confident that there are explanations for why Huff, 28, armed himself with a 12-gauge shotgun, a handgun, and nearly 300 rounds of ammunition, and proceeded to commit the worst mass killing here in 20 years. Said Fox: “Very, very few mass murderers just go out and shoot anything that moves. There’s a reason they pick certain targets.”