A workplace killer is likely to be a 37-year old single man who has been with a company for at least four years (about 3% of attackers are women). His attack is often a final, self-destructive act that follows personal problems in his life and at work. Often, he is the one whose temper has worried co-workers and bosses. He does not kill at random.

Most workplace killers hold grudges and know exactly whom they are looking to kill.

On July 15, 2004 USA TODAY published an article on workplace violence. USA TODAY compiled a data base of 224 fatal incidents spanning nearly 30 years, from 1975 to 2003, to track the outcomes and motivations of employees who kill.

Their research, along with interviews with survivors and employers, reveals new information about the traits shared by workplace attackers, who each week kill an

average of one co-worker and leave at least 25 seriously injured.

These killers are marked different from the typical murderer. The workplace attacker is more likely to be white, male and older than the typical murderer, according to James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston and co-author of the recently released The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder.

According to Fox’s research, 73% of workplace killers are white, compared with 46% of murderers in general. More than half of the workplace killers are older than 35. In the general population of murders, only about one-quarter are 35 and older.

“To the 20-year-old losing a job isn’t as critical,” Fox says, “The 50-year-old will respond much differently. He’ll feel life is over, He’ll feel there is no hope”