Nothing specific is revealed about "Animal's" past, not even his real name (though vague flashbacks indicate the possibility of a brother and an abusive father). He also developed psychopathic tendencies at some point of his life. In 2008, he obtained his nickname at a fight club in Phoenix, Arizona which he went to in an attempt to prove his manhood. He challenged the largest and toughest member of the club, a bouncer called Boom. Due to his physical weakness and small stature, he lost every fight and was humiliated by the other members. He later exacted revenge on Boom outside the club where the latter worked, by shooting him with a stainless steel .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolver. He later killed Bobby Q with the revolver on October 29; Bobby Q was a member of the 12th Street Gang, led by a gangster named Playboy, and took his gold chain as a trophy. He then started killing police officers by luring them out to his death traps through the 911 emergency system.
Brothers in Arms
After he murders three, the BAU is called in, although most of the officers are certain that Playboy is somehow responsible. After bringing him in for questioning, they find out about the murder of Bobby Q, whom Playboy was very close to. After looking into past similar murders, they connect Boom's murder to Animal. They then go to the fight club whose captain, "Beanie", tells them about Animal and gives them a description. In order to draw Animal out, the BAU pretend to fully take over the investigation, effectively placing their authority over the Phoenix Police Department's, and making Hotch the target by having him announce it at a press conference. Animal calls 911, leading the authorities to an empty motel room. He waits out their search, hiding in the darkness, then spots Hotch wandering alone and starts following him with the intention to shoot him. The BAU has already predicted his move and Morgan arrests him when he enters a blind spot. As he is brought in, Playboy, who is in the nearby crowd, pulls out a pistol and shoots him once, killing him in revenge for Bobby Q.
Over two months later, a press conference led by Hotch about Animal's killings was viewed by Megan Kane during her research on Hotch. Eight years later, audio from the same press conference was used by a group of anarchists to frame Hotch for conspiracy.
Animal targeted people whom he perceived as having a higher authority than his. He would make up plans of increasing complexity to draw his victims close, in the case of "Boom"'s murder, using a beer bottle to pretend to urinate, or, as in the case of the Phoenix officers, calling 911 under false pretenses, lying in wait in some alcove at the location, and shooting them with a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 66 revolver. The only exception to the latter fact was Officer Jason Kessinger's murder, in which he was killed after pulling Animal over for speeding away from a DUI checkpoint (likely because he was still developing his M.O.). He would aim for the neck with the knowledge that the officers might be wearing bulletproof vests. He always operated at night, likely to have the cover of darkness (wearing dark clothing and a dark hat for camouflage) and in rough neighborhoods where people were used to hearing gunfire and would therefore blame the shootings on the local gangs. He would also linger by the bodies and grab their throats (a gesture used at the fight club towards the defeated opponents) as they died.
His signature was taking trophies, such as the badges of the Phoenix police officers he killed, or a large gold necklace taken from Bobby Q. The only exception to this signature was in the case of his first victim, Mickey Reese, since it was his first murder and it was motivated by rage against him. As a forensic countermeasure, Animal would use different revolvers for each murder in order to ensure that the ballistics wouldn't match and to make the murders appear as if they were committed by gang members. During his murders, Animal initially targeted lone victims, but by the time he was killing officers, he escalated to targeting two at once, though it may have been incidental.
Animal seems to have been partially inspired by Lee Harvey Oswald - Both were killers and cop killers who used firearms (including revolvers, while Oswald also used a sniper rifle) in their crimes, had surviving victims, killed members of law enforcement, and were both shot once and killed by someone outside of the law as retribution for their murders.
The unsub is a narcissistic psychopathic white male aged in his 30s, whose goal is to prove his masculinity. He does this by going after high-risk targets, such as gang members and police officers. As a narcissist, he will be following the investigation closely. With the BAU acting like they are taking over the investigation, putting them above the local police and saying that they are tougher to take out, it is issuing the unsub a challenge that he won't be able to ignore. All of the attacks, with the exception of the one on Cunningham and Mercer, had taken place in the 12th Street Gang's territory. It is his hunting ground and he is unlikely to stray from it. Locations had multiple vantage points for the shooter, with limited access and exit routes for his victims. He has incredible temper problems, and is very violent. He believes that everybody is after him, so he will always pick fights with everyone, even though he knows that he is going to lose. He is fairly smart, fearless, and cunning, being able to make plans to lure his victims. He will not be easy to take down.
- September: Mickey "Boom" Reese (a fighter who defeated him; shot twice in the chest, but was protected by a bulletproof vest, then fatally shot in the neck; killed after being lured in by a urination imitation)
- October 29: Robert "Bobby Q" Quinones (a local gang member; shot)
- December 6: Officer Jason Kessinger (was shot after pulling him over for speeding at a DUI checkpoint)
- December 9: Sergeant Manuel Rodriguez and Officer Thomas Kayser (both lured and shot after investigating a false 911 about a domestic violence incident):
- Sergeant Manuel Rodriguez
- Officer Thomas Kayser (incidental; shot him three times)
- December 10: Officers Mark Cunningham and Ron Mercer (both lured and attacked after investigating a false 911 call about an aggravated assault and being drawn close to a mannequin set on fire):
- Officer Mark Cunningham
- Officer Ron Mercer (incidental; attempted; shot at him twice, but missed)
- December 11: Aaron Hotchner (lured out with a false 911 call, stalked, and attempted to kill)
- Note: The BAU repeatedly stated that Animal killed five policemen, but "Brothers in Arms" only shows four cops murdered by him. This was likely just an error on the writer's part.
- Season Four
- Season Eleven