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Kyle Ecklund is a teenage "injustice collector"-type family annihilator, serial killer, stalker, and one-time mass abductor who appears in the Season Twelve episode of Criminal Minds, "The Anti-Terrorism Squad".


Kyle was born and raised in Winona, Minnesota, in a troubled family; his mother left him when he was still a toddler, leaving him in the custody of his alcoholic father. As a result, Kyle had to raise himself as he grew up since he had no reliable caretaker to take care of him. For most of his life, he was a victim of bullying, especially at Pillsbury High School, where bullying was a major problem among the students but was never properly addressed by the administration. Kyle became the leader of a group called "The Anti-Terror Squad", a support group comprised of five other students who were bullied, and who equated bullying to terrorism, hence the title. One night, on April 21, 2013, he was somehow lured to the school basketball court by a group of popular students led by a jock named Austin Settergren. They tied him up to a basketball pole and marked his face as a target, after which Austin began throwing a basketball in his face repeatedly while being cheered on by the others. Austin threw the basketball in his face so many times that Kyle's glasses broke and were eventually knocked off. Afterwards, the popular students left him strapped to the pole, and Kyle was not found until the next day when a jogger came across him and alerted a school janitor. Rather than punishing Austin and the popular students, the school kept the incident quiet, allowing them to victimize Kyle and his friends with impunity. The incident triggered a murderous rage within Kyle, and he began plotting a 3 year series of revenge killings to traumatize the bullies and make them feel like victims.

The Anti-Terrorism Squad[]

"I didn't have to do any of it. I did this for you, Zach. And you, Megan. Sam, Ryan, Josh. I did this for every time that we got tripped or punched or spit on. I did this...for me."

One night, Kyle breaks into the residence of Amanda Bergstrom and kills her family while Amanda is out with her friends past her curfew. After the murders, Kyle leaves, leaving Amanda to find her family dead when she arrives home later that night. As the BAU is called in to investigate the familicide due to the knowledge of other possible suspects, Kyle returns home, removes the clothes and his gun from a bag, and uses a knife to cut up a picture of Amanda. The following night, Kyle breaks into the residence of Matt Doherty and kills his parents and his sister. During the familicide, Matt, who is home at the time, hides in his bedroom closet and calls 911, urinating in fear. Kyle enters the room and finds him hiding in the closet by finding the pool of urine, but spares him. The next day, Kyle attends a meeting with the other students and their parents, where a school counselor, Eric Bakken, talks to them about the murders. As Kyle and everyone else leaves the classroom, Austin trips Kyle and he falls to the floor. As Austin laughs at him, Kyle becomes enraged, so he follows Austin home after school and brutally kills him. Austin's body is later found by his father, JJ, and Alvez.

Kyle is next seen in the car of Zach Peterson, who is another member of "The Anti-Terror Squad", and they both talk about the murders. Zach becomes sympathetic for Amanda and Matt and says that they didn't deserve what happened to them, which shocks Kyle. Eventually, Kyle becomes frustrated and he tells him to pull over, which he does and Kyle walks out of the car. The following night, as Zach tells the rest of the group about his suspicions of Kyle being the killer, a betrayed Kyle enters the room and abducts all five of them at gunpoint. As he does so, Zach and the others try to reason with him, but Kyle repeatedly tells them to be quiet and explains his motives to them about paying Amanda, Matt and Austin back everything they did to them throughout Elementary, Middle and High School. When one of the members asks where they are going, Kyle replies that they are going to the basketball court. There, Kyle ties up four of the students. Moments later, the BAU arrive, and Kyle holds Zach at gunpoint. Rossi, Alvez, and Prentiss point their guns at Kyle and try to talk him down. However, he tells them that he is ready to die rather than get arrested. Then, Prentiss tells Kyle that she knows what Austin and the others did to him. With this response, Kyle has a flashback of what happened to him. Afterward, sheriff's deputies arrive and hold Kyle at gunpoint. Prentiss tells him that he is making everything worse and that he doesn't want to hurt his friends. After some arguing between them, Kyle is convinced, and he releases Zach, puts the gun down, and stands down. He is last seen being driven away in a sheriff's deputy car, likely off to a detention center or even a mental institute afterward.

Modus Operandi[]

Kyle initially targeted the families of the bullies who participated in the basketball court incident. He stalked them and learned their daily routines before eventually breaking into their houses, armed with a suppressed handgun. He would attack the parents first as they slept in their beds; he would first shoot the fathers straight in the head, then the mothers soon after they woke up to the gunshots. Then, he would kill any of the bullies' siblings to avoid being discovered. For the first familicide, he deliberately attacked the Bergstrom family while the daughter Amanda was away at a party, knowing she would come home past her curfew. For the second familicide, Kyle attacked the Doherty family while the son Matt was still home, choosing to relish in Matt's fear for a few moments before fleeing. Later, when the BAU realized his motives, Kyle began to decompensate and go after the actual bullies rather than their families, then anyone else who he felt betrayed him. He first killed Austin Settergen, the bully most aggressive with him, after Settergen tripped him, then left his father to find him dead. Settergen's murder was more violent, as Kyle shot him and bludgeoned him with a trophy, to both assault and degrade him. He then abducted his entire support group of friends and held them hostage at gunpoint, marching them out to the court where Kyle was attacked whie trying to convince them to take his side.


The BAU's original profile was that the unsub was a male in his late 20s to early 30s. He was also considered to be a variation of a family annihilator. Unlike the typical family annihilator, whose rage towards a specific family member causes him to murder his entire family, the unsub kills families that are not his own. In addition, the unsub is more organized and has greater impulse control as well as a high level of sophistication. His sophistication is apparent in the fact that he deliberately chooses to spare the object of his rage rather than killing said object, allowing him the satisfaction of inflicting ongoing psychological pain. Later, the murder of Austin Settergren pointed to the unsub actually being a teenager, since it was sloppy, disorganized, and showed signs of immaturity.

It is difficult to determine whether Kyle is a serial or spree killer. While he targeted specific victims, planned out his murders beforehand, and had a specific M.O., it should be noted that he attacked his victims within a two-day span. However, he was close to devolving to a spree killer, since he shifted his focus to other targets.

Real-Life Comparison[]

Kyle appears to be partly based on Jeff Weise - Both were Minnesotan rampage killers who had one absent parent and the other was an alcoholic (Ecklund's mother left him the care of his alcoholic father; Weise's mother was an abusive alcoholic who fought for custody over him with his father, who later killed himself), they were able to make friends despite being bullied, and were members of support groups in their high schools. Both targeted students and relatives (Ecklund killed his bullies' families before actually targeting a bully; Weise killed his grandfather and later both students and staff), shot their victims with a 9mm pistol (though Weise also used two other guns), performed overkill on at least one victim, and got into stand-offs with law enforcement.

Known Victims[]

  • Unspecified dates in or prior to 2016:
  • 2016:
    • November 7-8: The Bergstrom family (the family of Amanda Bergstrom; killed while Amanda was at a party)
      • Scott Bergstrom (father; shot in the head)
      • Bridget Bergstrom (mother; shot in the head like the previous victim)
      • Kevin Bergstrom (son; shot in the chest)
    • November 8-9: The Doherty family (the family of Matt Doherty; killed while Matt was inside the family home)
      • Mr. Doherty (father; shot in the head)
      • Grace Doherty (mother; shot in the head)
      • Diane Doherty (daughter; shot in the back of the head)
    • November 9:
      • Austin Settergren (shot six times and bludgeoned with a trophy)
      • Abducted the following, but all were rescued:
        • Zach Peterson (later held at gunpoint)
        • Megan
        • Sam
        • Ryan
        • Josh


  • Kyle seems to be based on at least three unsubs in the show's past:
    • Season Three
      • Owen Savage ("Elephant's Memory") - Both are teenage "injustice collector"-type killers who were motivated by school bullying, were humiliated in a public way (a video of Savage masturbating was circulated around his school while Ecklund was frequently bullied by popular students), had fathers who were alcoholics and mothers who were absent in some capacity (Ecklund's mother abandoned him as a toddler while Savage's mother died six years before his murders), primarily killed their victims by shooting them, targeted former bullies who represented the objects of their rage, and were arrested after similar standoffs with police during which a BAU agent (Reid in Savage's case and Prentiss in Ecklund's) sympathized with them.
    • Season Nine
      • Ronald James Underwood ("Bully") - Both were mission-oriented "injustice collector"-type serial killers who were motivated by school bullying. Also, onlookers willingly participated in the abuse, fueling their anger as they devolved and developed M.O.'s that included beating their victims, although for Kyle it was only once. Furthermore, both episodes featured school administrators who appeared to be incapable of stopping the abuse. While targeting students who attended the same high schools as them, both also tended to kill their tormentors' family members as a form of psychological torture. Additionally, both abducted and took their final intended victims to the location where a particularly traumatic incident of bullying occurred. Lastly, Kyle's standoff with Prentiss seems to echo Ronald's standoff with Blake, as both agents talked them into surrendering by appealing to their pasts.
    • Season Eleven
      • Andrew Meeks ("A Badge and a Gun") - Both were lured by fellow students to an area of his high school where sports are played, and having a prank pulled on him in which he was forcibly restrained with some sort of wrapping and left alone in that same location for hours, leaving him traumatized and with murderous impulses as a result.
  • What's also interesting is how Kyle's bullying was also intentionally taken from an incident from Reid's childhood as mentioned in "Elephant's Memory".



  1. One of Garcia's reports stated that Kyle was picked up by his mother after a bullying incident. Considering Kyle's mother was later said to have left him as a toddler, this may have either been an error or a possible stepmother.