"Rampage Killer" is an umbrella term for Spree Killer or Mass Murderer, a person who kills multiple people in a short period of time, with no cooling off period or a very brief one. There are only minor differences between the two terms, as detailed below.
The rampage killer has usually become alienated from society and no longer feels any connection with the rest of humanity. They may feel that the world has come crashing down on them and that the only solution is death. They will feel that their own lives are over, and aim to take as many people with them as they can. Another type of rampage killer (the so-called "classic type") is the "killer-on-the-run" type, someone who commits murders or potentially deadly attacks while evading capture by the law. Examples of this type include Andrew Cunanan, Allan Legere, and Florence Rey.
Once their killing spree is over, subjects of this type most often either commit suicide or force law enforcement to use deadly force against them ("suicide by cop"). They prefer death over the prospect of indefinite incarceration or institutionalization.
The mass murderer, while being nearly identical, differs in the fact that their murders will occur in one place. A spree killer may "visit" multiple locations, sometimes over the course of several days.
Both types may target a certain demographic, or even specific targets. These may include fellow students who gave the subject a hard time, a college professor who gave them a bad grade, or a group of bullies. The Columbine massacre is a perfect example of getting revenge on bullies (though this fact was never confirmed as being official).
Mass murderers, specifically, may include car and suicide bombers and other types of bombers and terrorists who commit their murders with a single act.
Alternatively, either type may commit multiple murders for no apparent reason other than the desire to kill.
While rampage killers usually select their victims at random, there are cases where certain aspects of the victims appeals to the perpetrator, such as age, weight, hair color, facial shape occupation, race, etc. It may be a displaced memory or the effect of a traumatic event that mostly happens in childhood. This is how criminologists usually connect different strings of murders together.
Unlike serial killers, spree killers most often use firearms or similar weapons. Mass murderers most often use explosives, firearms, or biological/chemical weapons in the case of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and the Japanese terrorist group Aum Shinrikyo.
Real Life ExamplesEdit
- Mark Barton, the Georgia spree killer and family annihilator
- Anders Behring Breivik, the perpetrator of the 2011 Norway attacks
- Martin Bryant, the perpetrator of the Port Arthur massacre
- Reginald and Jonathan Carr, perpetrators of the "Wichita Horror"
- Seung-Hui Cho, the perpetrator of the Virginia Tech massacre
- Andrew Cunanan, the San Diego spree killer
- Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, the perpetrators of the Starkweather-Fugate murder spree
- Andrew Kehoe, the Bath School bomber
- Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre
- John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Beltway snipers
- Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., the Kansas Jewish community center shooter
- Elliot Rodger, the Isla Vista spree killer
- James Swann, the Shotgun Stalker
- Howard Barton Unruh, the schizophrenic Camden spree killer
- Jeff Weise, the perpetrator of the Red Lake massacre
- Charles Whitman, the Texas Tower Sniper
- George Geschwendt, a family annihilator
- Nidal Malik Hasan, the perpetrator of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre
- George Hennard, the perpetrator of the Luby's massacre
- James Holmes, the perpetrator of the Century Theatres movie theater massacre
- James Huberty, the perpetrator of the massacre at a San Ysidro, San Diego, CA McDonald's restaurant
- Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, perpetrators of the Columbine High School massacre
- John List, a family annihilator
- Jared Lee Loughner, the perpetrator of the Safeway supermarket shooting
- James and John McNamara, the perpetrators of the Los Angeles Times bombing
- Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing
- Dick Hickock and Perry Smith, two family annihilators
- Richard Speck, a serial rapist who raped and murdered multiple nurses
- The Tylenol Killer, the perpetrator of the Tylenol scare, who was never caught
- Byran Uyesugi, the perpetrator of the Xerox massacre
On Criminal MindsEdit
Rampage killers are investigated several times by the BAU, though not on a basis as frequent as serial killers.
Notable examples of spree killers are Eddie Mays, Roy Woodridge, Owen Savage, Norman Hill, Darrin Call, Raymond Donovan and Sydney Manning, Luke Dolan, Rodney Harris, Clifford Walsh, Frank Cosgrove, and Lester Turner.
Female Rampage KillersEdit
Female rampage killers are extremely rare. In Public Enemy, however, Morgan incorrectly states that rampage killers, unless they are school shooters, are always middle-aged males. Documented examples include:
- Sylvia Seegrist: Opened fire at a Springfield, Pennsylvania, shopping mall on October 30, 1985, killing three people and wounding seven others before being disarmed by a shopper John Laufer (who mistakenly assumed Sylvia shooting to be a prank, as it was close to Halloween). The individuals killed included two men, Ernest Trout and Augustus Ferrara, and a two-year-old, Recife Cosmen. She was 25 years old and had been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia ten years earlier.
- Brenda Spencer: Used a .22 rifle and fired at the staff and students of an elementary school across the street on which she lived, killing two and wounding nine, on January 29, 1979, while she was still 16. She is currently serving time in a San Diego prison and has been denied parole four times. When asked why she did it, she simply said that she doesn't like Mondays and that killing "livens up the day".
- Amy Bishop: Shot six colleagues, three of whom died, with a 9mm handgun February 13, 2010 shortly after learning that she had been denied tenure. She was arrested and indicted for the shooting and is currently in custody. The authorities also reopened the case of her fatally shooting her brother years earlier, an incident which previously was believed to have been an accident. In June 2010, she was charged with first-degree murder of her brother, nearly 24 years after the shooting occured. In 1993, Bishop and her husband were also suspects in a case in which a pair of pipe bombs were sent to a Harvard Medical School professor.
- Jennifer San Marco: Killed a neighbor, then went to a mail processing plant, where she killed an additional six before shooting herself in the head on January 30, 2006. She was apparently motivated by severe paranoia and bigotry (San Marco was a known racist, and with the exception of neighbor Beverly Graham, all her victims were minorities).
- Laurie Dann: Opened fire in an elementary school on May 20, 1988, after several failed poisoning and arson attempts at numerous locations, killing eight-year-old Nicholas Corwin and injuring five other schoolchildren. Dann then broke into a random home, taking the occupants hostage and seriously wounding one of them. After a standoff with police, she committed suicide by shooting herself in the mouth. It is believed that had her poisoning and arson attempts succeeded, she would have become the most prolific female rampage killer in modern history, and possibly also one of the deadliest rampage killers.
- Sherie Lash: A former Native American tribal leader in northern California who shot five people during a tribal meeting on February 21, 2014, killing four of them, including the current tribal leader. She then grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed a sixth person who survived. She was subdued and arrested by responding police officers.
- The most prolific spree killer in modern history was Anders Behring Breivik, a Norweigan man who was arrested as a suspect for a car bombing in Oslo and a mass shooting at a nearby island youth camp on July 22, 2011, both of which occurred on the same day and claimed the lives of 77 people. Eight people were killed by the car bomb, which occurred first; at least 209 others were injured, twelve of them seriously. 67 additional victims were killed in the following camp massacre, with two others dying from indirect means; 32 others were injured, while at least an additional 77 others were injured from indirect means. The incident, which has been compared to the Oklahoma City bombing committed by Timothy McVeigh in the sense that both were domestic terrorists who used explosives made from fertilizer, has been called an act of terrorism by authorities. Breivik mentions McVeigh in his diary, which was released a few days after the massacre and reveals that he first began planning his act at the beginning of 2010. He also states in the diary that his intention was to form a templar order meant to become "the foremost conservative revolutionary movement in Western Europe of the nearest decades". He has claimed to have been resisting the "Islamization" of Europe. Though he has confessed to the attacks, he has not admitted criminal responsibility and has claimed the acts to be in self-defense during his trial. Several psychiatrists have said that he is schizophrenic and was psychotic during the massacre, though later reports denied this. In August 2012, a court found him sane and guilty and sentenced him to containment, meaning his jail time can practically be extended indefinitely.
- The rampage killer criteria describes a somewhat uninterrupted rampage and the end of said killing spree through arrest or death, either by police officers or suicide. However, there has been only one exception to this fact: William Unek, an African police constable who murdered a total of 21 people with an ax near Mahagi, Belgian Congo, on an unspecified date in 1954. He then avoided capture for three years, eventually hiding in Tanganyika. Unek was then captured after he perpetrated a second, more deadlier killing rampage in the town of Malampaka, in which he brutally killed 36 additional people by either shooting, stabbing, burning, or strangulation. He was able to avoid capture again for nine days, to then he was tracked down by police and mortally wounded by a fire that engulfed the house he was hiding in. Unek later died of his injuries. With a total of 57 people killed and at least an additional 30 injured, he would be considered the second-deadliest spree killer in modern history, only below Anders Behring Breivik as described above, but as his killings occurred in two separate events that were three years apart, this position is officially held by Woo Bum-kon, a South Korean spree killer who murdered 56 people and injured an additional 35 before committing a suicide bombing.
- The Serial Killer Files by Harold Schecter. Random House ISBN 978-0-345-46566-5 (0-345-46566-0)