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Fifty of his old friends in one place. Wouldn't miss it for the world.
Wheeler to his sister

Jason Wheeler is a serial-turned-spree killer and criminal sniper who appears in the Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior episode "One Shot Kill".


Wheeler's father was Master Sergeant James Wheeler, a talented sniper in the U.S. Army. He taught his son marksmanship, turning him into a very proficient sniper. In an attempt to show off his skills, Wheeler killed Ted Grunberg, a schoolmate, in 1999. The case was never tied to him or his father and the death was attributed to a stray bullet. Wheeler tried to join the Army, the Marine Corps, and to get a job for various private defense contractors, but his father wrote letters to all of them asking them not to hire Wheeler because of his unstable behavior and rage issues. Enraged by this, Wheeler finally killed him in February 2011 with a blow to the head in revenge. Though he was the prime suspect for that killing, investigators didn't have enough evidence to arrest him. Wheeler then moved in with his older sister, Amy, and got a job as a messenger. Shortly before the episode, when James Wheeler's military memorial service was to be held, Wheeler began a killing spree, sniping random people on the streets of Chicago.

One Shot Kill[]

When Cooper's Red Cell team arrive and examine a crime scene, Wheeler is still on the site and spots Rawson. At home, he looks into a military register and sees him on a list of snipers and sends him a pager on which he tells Rawson when he's about to commit his next shooting. After killing four people, Wheeler began to devolve, killing two people in one shooting before attempting to kill three people in another event, but failed to murder any of them. He then went to his father's memorial service, intending to kill everyone there, but the Red Cell team arrived and managed to apprehend him.

Modus Operandi[]

Wheeler 700

Wheeler with his rifle.

Wheeler killed the majority of his victims by sniping them with a suppressed, bolt-action Remington 700 AICS rifle from 300-400 yards away or a quarter of a mile away, killing them with clean head shots. Before leaving his sniping spot, he picked up the shell casings, which he kept as trophies. When he killed his father, which was a simple act committed out of rage, he used blunt-force trauma.


The unsub is a highly talented sniper, meaning he probably has a history in the military, SWAT, or private defense contractors. He is white, 25-35 years old, and likely has a history of bar room fights or workplace aggression. His random choice of victims suggest that he carries feelings of displaced anger. Snipers in general are disciplined, intelligent, skilled, focused and patient. Patience is part of the job as a military sniper. In training, snipers are trained not to move a muscle for possibly a day, as said by Mick, who was also a former military sniper. They are also very controlling and have high self-esteem. They feel invincible and prefer to keep people at a distance emotionally. The fact that he keeps upping the ante and challenging himself more and more suggests that he has some kind of endgame in mind, such as a suicide by cop or a massive shooting.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Wheeler appears to have been based on Charles Whitman - Both were narcissistic snipers and spree killers who were taught marksmanship by their fathers (making them impressive snipers), their fathers disapproved of their military service and wrote letters requesting their admittance be rejected and ultimately succeeded (though Whitman still served as a Marine while Wheeler never got the chance to actually join the U.S. Army), both killed one of their parents (Wheeler's father and Whitman's mother, respectively), who they killed with a slightly different method than their later killings (Wheeler bludgeoned his father, while Whitman stabbed his mother but also shot her), both shot numerous random victims in public places (one single location in Whitman's case) with a Remington 700 rifle (though Whitman used numerous weapons) from several hundred meters away, both wrote messages, and got into gun fights with law enforcement that led to their apprehensions (though Wheeler was apprehended alive while Whitman was killed). Their surnames also seem to mirror each other.

Known Victims[]

  • Unspecified date in 1999: Ted Grunberg
  • 2011:
    • February: Master Sergeant James Wheeler (his father; killed by blunt-force trauma)
    • February 26: An unnamed white male jogger
    • March 3: An unnamed black woman
    • March 5: An unnamed retiree
    • March 7: Carl Langstrom
    • March 8:
      • The double homicide:
        • Ahdab Balli
        • Jennifer Conway
      • The attempted triple homicide:
        • An unnamed woman (attempted to kill as part of the event; shot at, but missed)
        • Two unnamed people (intended to shoot)
    • March 9: The attack at James Wheeler's memorial service:
      • At least fifty unnamed attendants (intended to massacre)
      • Unnamed late attendant (attempted, but survived; was non-fatally shot)
      • Gina LaSalle (attempted; shot at, but missed)
      • Mick Rawson (intended to shoot)
  • Note: In the beginning of the episode, before Wheeler commits his fifth known shooting, it is shown that he has a row of five shell casings in his room, one of which was from his killing of Ted Grunberg. Since he had only shot and killed a total of four people at the time, one shell casing is unaccounted for. It's possible that the second shell casing represents his father and wasn't fired at a human target.
    • However, after his murder of Carl Langstrom, a shot shows only four of the five shell casings, and Wheeler added a fifth shell casing in the row.