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In wake of recent shootings, police urge vigilance online

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HUNTSVILLE,AL- As the country deals with another devastating mass shooting, another eerie online footprint is leaving behind clues for investigators.

"Most people that have committed mass shootings or mass acts of violence, there were always some indicators beforehand that something was going to happen," said Huntsville Police Lieutenant Stacy Bates.

The FBI  is currently investigating the Umpqua Community College shooting suspect's online history; already discovering several posts talking about police killings. And in August, he weighed in on the shooting of two television journalists in Virginia.

Lieutenant Bates says if someone's online activity makes you feel uncomfortable, whether it's somebody continuously posting about shootings or posting threats, report it immediately.

"By all means, contact us. Let us know. In the school settings, we have school resource officers. Let them know about it as well," said Lieutenant Bates.

With the influx of websites and apps, it's impossible for departments to monitor everything posted online. That's why citizen tips are vital.

"Being able to just comb the internet constantly would be a task for a whole department to take; and they still wouldn't be able to find everything that's out there," said Lieutenant Bates.