Spree killing is the killing of multiple people in multiple locations close in time. Spree killing differs from serial killing because serial killing is often fewer victims at one time spread out often over years or even decades. There have been many infamous spree killers in American history.
Ronald Simmons was a very disturbed man. He killed 7 members of his family three days before Christmas in 1987 including 6 of his own children. The day after Christmas, his grown children and their families came for a Christmas visit. He killed all 7 of them, including three of his own children and 2 grandchildren. On December 28, 1987, he stopped at three seemingly random places and shot one person who worked at each. He then waited for the police. After being found guilty of 16 counts of murder, he was sentenced to death and executed in June of 1990.
The night before heading to the University of Texas’s large tower, Charles Whitman shot and killed his wife and his mother. On August 1, 1966, he made his way up the steps to the very top of the University’s tower, and he indiscriminately shot at everyone he saw below starting just before noon. Around 1:30pm, police had made it up the tower and were able to kill Whitman and stop the bloodbath below. At the end, Whitman had killed 13 people at the campus, his mother and his wife. Over 30 people were wounded.
James Huberty is well known for his crimes. In July of 1984, after saying good bye to his wife, Huberty drove to a local McDonald’s restaurant. He went in and started shooting at anyone that moved. His shooting was not contained to the restaurant, and his bullets hit several children in a park across the street. After more than an hour of shooting, a sniper’s bullet finally ended the massacre. The killing spree left 21 people dead and 19 wounded.
George Hennard’s killing spree is well known as the Lubby’s Cafeteria Massacre. The day after his 35th birthday, in October of 1991, Hennard drove through a window of the popular lunch location and began firing shots at people. The police arrived on scene quickly and a sniper was able to wound Hennard. 15 minutes after the rampage began, Hennard shot himself. In all, Hennard killed 24 people.
Seung-Hui Cho took a gun to the Virginia Tech campus in April of 2007. He started the day by killing two students in the dormitory. Then he moved to the classrooms. At this location, he shot and killed 30 people before killing himself. Many faculty, staff and students were injured in the killing spree.
Andrew Kehoe preferred to use explosives than guns. In 1927, he killed his wife and set fire to the house they had shared to distract from what was about to happen. Simultaneously, he ignited explosives in the north wing of the Bath Consolidated School. Shortly after, he ignited the explosives in his vehicle. It was later discovered that approximately half of the explosives had not gone off. Kehoe had set more in the south wing. All told, he killed 38 students, several adults and himself in the explosions. It is still one of the deadliest attacks on a school in the US.
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“Seung-Hui Cho Biography”, Biography.com.
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