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Barton killed 'himself many times over,' psychiatrist says

July 30, 1999
Web posted at: 10:18 p.m. EDT (0218 GMT)

ATLANTA (CNN) -- This week's deadly rampage by Atlanta shooting suspect Mark Barton has raised a troubling question -- what could make a man methodically kill his own wife and children and then randomly open fire on more than a dozen strangers?

Dr. Dave Davis, a nationally known forensic psychiatrist who has interviewed more than 400 murderers, says he believes that Barton -- filled with rage and depression -- was on a suicide mission from the very beginning.

"He is killing himself many times over," Davis says. "He is killing himself through his family, he is killing himself through these (stock day) traders who are like him."

"Plus, it makes a statement. He becomes something. His name is a household word today," Davis says.

And Davis also believes Barton's need to express his anger in such a violent, public way is a "uniquely American" trend that started nearly 20 years ago with shootings at post offices, moved into schools and now into the corporate world.

"It's a kind of domestic terrorism," he says.

Davis says Barton's recent reported financial losses and marital problems may have pushed an already frustrated man into a state of helplessness.

"It may have been that he was thinking he was going to save his family from the misery that he feels -- a kind of savior idea," Davis says.

In the note Barton left behind, he wrote, "I killed the children to exchange them for five minutes of pain for a lifetime of pain. I forced myself to do it to keep them from suffering so much later."

Davis says Barton may have been unable to empathize with the pain of others -- leaving him solely focused on making the world feel his own pain.

Shooter lost $105,000 in month, but motive still a mystery
July 30, 1999
Note from killer hints at revenge
July 30, 1999
Georgia killer's notes show a troubled man
July 30, 1999
Suicide of Atlanta shooting suspect ends 'unspeakable day'
July 29, 1999

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