Murder is always horrific and tragic for the victim and their families. But cases where someone snaps and kills a bunch of people are even harder to take. Spree killers often come out of nowhere and have no interest in keeping their actions a secret. In fact, they want to be on the news. They want to be infamous.
According to the FBI, a spree killer is a person (or more than one person) who commits two or more murders without a cooling-off period, which is what differentiates a spree killer from a serial killer. The difference between a mass murderer and a spree killer is up for debate, but generally a mass murderer commits one act that kills multiple people (like setting off a bomb for example), while a spree killer may kill a number of people in separate incidents and by different methods.
Murder always seems like a senseless waste, especially when the motive has nothing to do with the victim and everything to do with the killer's mental state. Some victims are just at the wrong place at the wrong time, and end up the collateral damage of a spree killer's secret agenda. Here are 10 of the most deadly spree killers in recent history.
10 James Holmes
9 Mark O. Barton
8 Adam Lanza
7 Charles Whitman
6 Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold
5 Elliot Rodger
4 Thomas Watt Hamilton
3 Dylann Roof
2 John Allen Muhammad & Lee Boyd Malvo
1 Seung-Hui Cho
The Virginia Tech massacre occurred on April 26, 2007 when senior student Seung-Hui Cho took the lives of 32 people and injured 17 more before committing suicide. The attack is still the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S history. Cho had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder, but he was still able to purchase guns without a problem. Cho sent a package to NBC News the morning of the attack that included an 1,800 word manifesto, photos, and videos where he compared himself to Jesus Christ and expressed hatred for the wealthy. Cho's mental instability led him to believe that he was doing something good, and planning the attack became his obsession.
Sources: Bio.com, CNN.com, Biography.com, NYTimes.com
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