I Went on a Date with an Attempted Mass Murderer

The date was incredibly normal considering what he was capable of.

Gillian Sisley
The Clever Quill
Published in
6 min readApr 2, 2019


Online dating is weird.

Online dating is uncomfortable.

Online dating can be really dangerous.

I was innocently on a dating app after about a year of being single, and realizing I had no prior dating experience other than my first, garbage ex-boyfriend.

I wanted to get out there and test the waters. I was interested in meeting new varieties of people, and getting a little bit of experience in the dating/flirting department.

I promised myself that the moment online dating stopped being fun, I would quit.

I probably went on 3–5 dates per month for a 4–5-month stretch.

It became clear to me that, while it was still fun, I wasn’t finding this method of dating beneficial for finding the right fit for me in a partner.

But before quitting, I would go on several memorable dates, with several very memorable people.

One of which included a date who would later that year be arrested and held for an attempted plan to execute a mass shooting at my university.

If you’d like to read up on the event before digging into my story, you can find that information here:

The date was awkward at best, but nothing out of the ordinary.

I was a 20-year-old undergrad, he was a 29-year-old med student.

I can’t remember initially what drew me to him to keep chatting on the dating app, but I imagine it was because he presented himself as very kind and polite.

He was normal. Painfully normal, even.

I found him averagely handsome— not that looks really matter, but it did play into my entire perception of him being a plain-old-joe



Gillian Sisley
The Clever Quill

Professional online writer. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. Writing about life, relationships, & travelling the world for 1 year!✈️🌍