In context: A week on from the tragic event in Dayton, Ohio, investigators are no closer to establishing the perpetrator’s motive. The FBI are in possession of the killer’s phone, which may hold vital clues, but so far they have been unable to access the device.
In the wake of tragedies like the mass-shootings in El Paso and Dayton last week, everybody wants to know the answer to one question – why? Why would a person commit such atrocious crimes and end so many lives? As politicians and commentators seek to pin blame on social factors like gun laws or video games, the FBI is looking into the individuals who carried out the attacks.
In the case of El Paso, an anti-immigration ‘manifesto’ was posted to 8chan by the alleged killer. But when it comes to Dayton, Ohio, officials are having a harder time identifying a motive. One way the FBI is hoping to get a lead is through searching the perpetrator’s phone – but so far, the FBI hasn’t been able to bypass the phone’s lock.
According to The Hill, FBI Deputy Director, David Bowdich, told House Democrats that the Ohio shooter’s phone requires a passcode. During a conference call, Bowdich admitted that the FBI can’t unlock the device, and speculated that if the killer used a six- to eight-digit combination, cracking the code could take months.
This is not the first time that law enforcement has run into this issue. In the wake of the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, officials instigated a legal challenge to Apple to try and force the company to unlock the phone for them. Apple refused.
In this instance, the phone at the center of the issue is a Samsung device. It remains to be seen whether or not Samsung will step in to aid efforts to investigate this tragic event.