UPDATE: CPRC Original Research: All the 20 worst mass public shootings, 42 of the worst 46, occurred outside the United States

29 Apr , 2016  

Tunisia Victim of ShootingPicture of victim being removed from ISIS attack in Tunisia that left 39 people dead

LAST UPDATED April 29, 2016 (original post June 28, 2015):

After the Charleston massacre, President Obama made this comment: “the unique mayhem that gun violence afflicts upon this nation.”  Of course, regarding mass public shootings, Obama doesn’t need to look any further than France, which last year suffered 532 casualties (killings and woundings) versus 396 in the US during the first seven full years of the Obama administration from 2009 through 2015.

But this isn’t a problem limited to France and the US.  While most numbers look at shootings where 4 or more people have been killed, smaller attacks are very hard to track in places such as Africa or Southern Asia or parts of South America, which have murder rates 8 or 10 times higher than the rate in the US.  Even some of these large mass shootings in Africa only received a couple news stories.

Our list of the worst mass public shootings collected cases where at least 15 were killed has been updated through March 20, 2016.  Since 1970, all of the 20 worst mass public shootings occurred outside the US.  Muslims also committed 18 of the worst 20 mass public shootings in the world.  All 20 of the worst mass public shootings occurred outside the US, and that was also true for 40 of the worst 44.  It is possible that we are still missing even some of these large mass public shootings prior to 2000, but any of the ones being missed are outside of the US, Canada, the Commonwealth countries, and Europe.

The FBI definition of mass public shootings excludes “shootings that resulted from gang or drug violence” or that were part of some other crime.  The FBI also defines “public” places as “includ[ing] commercial areas (divided into malls, businesses open to pedestrian traffic, and businesses closed to pedestrian traffic), educational environments (divided into schools [pre-kindergarten through 12th grade] and IHEs), open spaces, government properties (divided into military and other government properties), houses of worship, and health care facilities.” A report by the New York Police Department has a very similar definition.  The 33 worst mass public shootings all have at least 15 people who were shot to death.

The terrorist attacks by Al-Shabaab in Kenya, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Lashkar-e-Taiba in India, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in Pakistan are the same as the ISIS attacks in France.  They are the same regarding the weapons used, the number of attackers, and the choice of targets.  All of those countries define these as Islamic terrorist attacks, not battles over national sovereignty. Thus far the US has been lucky that the San Bernardino, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Tennessee terrorists simply haven’t yet been on the same scale nor have any of them used the machine guns used in these attacks abroad.

Deaths from mass public shootings where at least 15 people have been killed (1970 through March 20, 2016)

People killed in Mass Public Shootings Around World

Africa, Australia, Europe, and Israel all have much higher per capita death rates from these large mass public shooters than the US.  Indeed, even Europe’s rate for all countries whose borders are primarily in Europe is 65% higher than the US’s.  By contrast, the per capita rates in India and Pakistan are fairly similar to that in the US.  Indeed the death rate in US is only about 7% higher than in India and Pakistan.  The US makes up about 4.4% of the world of the population (322.8m/7.411b) and accounts for 4.1% of the the deaths from these attacks.

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at Monday, April 4, 4.59 PM

The attacks have apparently been increasing over time, though part of that is the explosion in Africa from 2012 on.  Since 2012, 83% of all the mass public shoot where at least 15 people have died have occurred in Africa.  Prior to 2012, such attacks in Africa reportedly made up zero percent of the attacks.  Given the little news coverage given to recent mass shootings in Africa, it raises the possibility that we are simply missing earlier attacks in Africa.

As the bombings in Brussels or Pakistan over the last week have illustrated, there are many ways to kill people.  More people died in either of those attacks (Brussels 35 dead, Pakistan over 70) than have died in the most deadly mass public shooting in the US (32 dead).

The worst public mass shooting are as follows:

1) Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State, Nigeria, May 5 and 6, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed more than 300 residents.

2) Borno massacre, in Konduga, Borno State, on May 7, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed at least 200 Christian villagers. Several others were injured.

3) Peshawar, Pakistan, December 16, 2014: A public school attack by seven gunmen affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP or the “Pakistani Taliban”), an Islamic group, killing 148 and wounding 114 more.
4) University College Campus of Garissa, in northeastern Kenya, April 2, 2015:  Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda offshoot, took responsibility for the attack where 147 people were killed.

5) Paris, France, November 14, 2015Three teams of extremists carried out the coordinated gun-and-suicide bombing attacks across Paris that left 130 people dead and 352 injured, a French prosecutor said Saturday.

6) Konduga, Borno State, Nigeria on February 14, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed at least 121 Christian villagers.

7) Izghe, Borno State, Nigeria, February 15, 2014: Boko Haram Islamic militants killed 105 men and 1 elderly woman

8) Mumbai, India, November 26th to 29th, 2008: The Islamic terror group based in Pakistan named Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) killed 164 and wounded 308.  On the first day where just deaths by shooting occurred there were at least 68 people killed in two of the targets (the Rail Terminus (58) and the Leopold Cafe (at least 10)).  Those deaths by itself would by themselves rank this as the 7th worst attack.  Even just the deaths at the Rail Terminus would put it in the top 10.  Most of the 30 deaths at the Oberoi Trident Hotel appear to have also been due to shootings, but while some of the deaths clearly occurred on the first day, it is unclear what that total is.  Similarly, it appears that 3 staff members at the luxury Taj Mahal hotel were immediately shot dead, but the rest of the deaths and the exact day of the deaths isn’t clear.  Adding the three staff deaths would raise the total here to 71.  There were other deaths that aren’t included in this total, such as the crew killed on the hijacked Indian fishing trawler the “Kuber.”
9) Manili, Philippines, June 19, 1971: 70 Muslims inside a mosque were killed in Barrio Manili, Carmen, in North Cotabato. By have been an attack by a Christian militant group, the Illegals, in retaliation for the burning of the home of Christians.

10) Utoya, Norway, July 22, 2011: Anders Behring Breivik used a gun to kill 67 people and wound 110 others. Still others were killed by bombs that Breivik detonated.

11) Nairobi, Kenya, September 21, 2013:  the Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabaab killing 63 victims and wounding 175 at the Westgate shopping mall shooting.

12) Yobe State, Nigeria, February 25, 201459 boys were killed by Boko Haram Islamists at the Federal Government College of Buni Yadi.  The boys were separated from the girls and the young girls were told to get married at a very early age.

13) Maguindanao, Mindanao, Philippines, November 23, 2009: Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and his clan (a “leading Muslim political clan“) attacked Esmael Mangudadatu’s family members and supporters, and accompanying journalists.  57 killed (34 were journalists) and at least 4 wounded.  The victims were on their way to file a certificate of candidacy for Esmael Mangudadatu, vice mayor of Buluan town, they were kidnapped and killed.  The Philippines classifies this as a terrorist attack.

14) Ipil, Philippines, April 3, 1995: The Islamic Command Council fired on residents and took hostages.  53 civilians killed.  The Philippines classifies this as a terrorist attack.

15) Gujba, Yobe State, Nigeria, September 29, 2013: gunmen from the Islamic group Boko Haram entered the male dormitory in the College of Agriculture and killed “as many as 50 dead.”  Most of the dead were Muslim college students.

16) Karachi, Pakistan, May 13, 2015: The Islamic terrorist group called Jundallah attacked a bus full of local citizens who were on their way to work, school and shopping.  The Jundallah are associated with the Pakistan Taliban.  More than 45 people were killed and several dozen were wounded.

17) Mamudo, Yobe State, Nigeria, July 6, 2013: Islamic group Boko Haram killed 42 children and teachers at a boarding school.

18) Parade Lane, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, December 4, 2009: At least Muslim gunmen stormed a Mosque, killing at least 40 and wounding 80.

19) Sousse, Tunisia, June 26, 2015: Seifeddine Rezgui, a college student, used a gun to kill 39 people at a crowded tourist beach resort at the Imperial Marhaba Hotel.  ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

20) Kobin, Nigeria, June 23, 2014: Gunmen from the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group group killed 38 people in an evening attack on civilians in the village.

21) Kaduna State, Nigeria, during a four hour period starting at 10 PM on Monday, June 23, 2014: The group Boko Haram attacked civilians in two neighboring villages, killing 38 people.

22) Chittisinghpura, India, March 18, 2000:  Five members of the Islamic terror group named Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure) killed 36 Sikhs.

23) Kabamu, Nigeria, June 23, 2014: Gunmen from the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group killed 36 people in an evening attack on civilians in the village.

24) Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia, April 28 and 29, 1996: Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded another 23 at a popular tourist site, the historic Port Arthur former prison colony.

25) Rome, Italy, December 17, 1973: 33 killed and 20+ injured.  Black September Terrorists (a Palestinian terrorist organization) attacked airport and airplane.

26) Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, April 16, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded 17 by gun fire at Virginia Tech University.

27) Gujarat, India, September 24 and 25 2002: Two terrorists attacked the Akshardham temple complex and killed 31 people and wounded 80 others by using automatic weapons and hand grenades

28) Hebron, Israel, February 25, 1994: Baruch Goldstein killed 29 and wounded 125 Muslim worshippers in an attack on the Cave of the Patriarchs.

29) Jammu, India, July 22, 2002: Islamic militants killed 27 Hindus and injured at least 30 others, some critically

30) Lod Airport outside Tel Aviv, Israel, May 30, 1972: three members of the Japanese Red Army attacked Lod airport (now Ben Gurion International Airport) near Tel Aviv, killing 26 people and injuring 80 others.  “The operation was planned and supported by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”  In this case, Muslims didn’t pull the triggers, but they were involved in committing this attack.  Indeed, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine recruited the Japanese Red Army to do the attack and when a prisoner swap was eventually done it was worked out between Israel and the PFLP.

31) Ganjidori, Pakistan, September 20, 2011: The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni extremist group, designated as a terrorist group by the Pakistan government, stopped a passenger bus carrying 45 people. Only those who were Hazaras, a group of people who are primarily Shia, were asked to step out of the bus. 26 people were killed and three were wounded.

32) Newtown, Connecticut, USA, December 14, 2012: 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 26 people at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

33) Killeen, Texas, USA, October 16, 1991: George Hennard crashed his pickup truck into the plate glass windows of the Luby Cafeteria and then shot 23 people to death.

34) Dogon-Daji, Nigeria, June 23, 2014: Gunmen from the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group killed 21 people in an evening attack on civilians in the village.

35) San Ysidro, California, USA July 18, 1984: James Huberty shot and killed 21 people and wounded another 19 at a McDonald’s restaurant.

36) Bamako, Mali, November 20, 2015: Siege at the Radisson hotel, a luxury hotel, in the capital Bamako that left 20 people dead

37) Otite, Kogi State, Nigeria, August 7, 2012: Three Islamic terrorists attacked the Deeper Life Bible Church killing 19 people and wounding an unknown number of others.

38) Erfurt, Germany, April 26, 2002: Robert Steinhäuser, a recent graduate of the Gutenberg-Gymnasium in Erfurt, Germany, killed 18 people.

39) Near Stirling, Scotland, UK, March 13, 1996: Thomas Hamilton killed 17 people at the Dunblane Primary School.

40) Rome, Italy, December 27, 1985: 16 killed and 99 injured.  Abu Nidal Organization attacked the ticket counter for Israel’s El Al Airlines.

41) Popular Ivory Coast beach resort, March 13, 201616 people shot to death in an Islamic terrorist attack at the Etoile du Sud, a hotel popular with Westerners.  The attack was probably directed at Americans who were traveling in the area.
42) Adan, Yemen, March 5, 2016Gunmen kill 16 at retirement home, handcuffing victims and shooting them in the head.  Islamic State group and Yemen’s al-Qaida affiliate suspected.

43) Hungerford, UK, August 19, 1987: Michael Robert Ryan killed 16 people, but they occurred at several locations.

44) Naidu, Nigeria, June 23, 2014: Gunmen from the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist group killed 16 people in an evening attack on civilians in the village.

45) São Gonçalo do Amarante, Natal, Brazil, May 21, 1997Genildo Ferreira Do Francais killed 15 people in a small northern Brazilian town.

46) Winnenden, Germany, March 11, 2009: 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer 15 killed at the Winnenden School.

Other cases: Montreal, Quebec, Canada had 14 people killed and another 14 injured in a shooting at the École Polytechnique  on December 6, 1989. San Bernardino, California on December 2, 2015 had 14 killed and 22 wounded in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center (Islamic related).  The Zug Switzerland shooting left 14 people killed in September 27, 2001.  The 1966 University of Texas shooting left 14 people dead (wife and mother were killed through other means). Edmond, Oklahoma shooting at a post office left 14 people killed on August 20, 1986. Honduras, November 25, 2015: “Two massacres that killed 15 people in less than 12 hours rocked Honduras and left the country’s top cop in tears on Wednesday.  Police say seven were shot in the capital of Tegucigalpa early Wednesday, while eight bus drivers were killed in the northern city of San Pedro Sula late Tuesday.

UPDATE: Woo Bum-kon killed 56 people a over two days in South Korea (April 26-27, 1982). It is hard to include him in the above list because there was no large number of people killed in any one single public place, but instead he would kill one or two people in a lot of different public places. He also used grenades to kill people.

Other cases: The Zug Switzerland shooting left 14 people killed in September 27, 2001.  The 1966 University of Texas shooting left 14 people dead (wife and mother were killed through other means). Edmond, Oklahoma shooting at a post office left 14 people killed on August 20, 1986.

Nigeria.  Given that these were attacks by Islamic militants purely against civilians, they are classified as terrorist attacks.

Philippines.  Unclear cases.

Digos, Davao Del Sur, Philippines, June 25, 1989: 39 people, many of them children, were mercilessly gunned-down by the communist New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels while they were attending a Sunday mass. This appears to be a battle over sovereignty.

Israel.  Given that most of these attacks were conducted by Palestinians, one could argue that these were attacks over sovereignty.  Above we have only included one attack by the Red Japanese Army against Israel.

Netiv Meir School in Ma’a lot, Israel, May 15, 1974:  Terrorists from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine opened fire at an elementary school in a series of attacks that killed 25 people at the school and wounded 70 others (see also).

Solomon Islands.  Interesting case since the country had very strict gun ban.  10 people were shot to death by the Guadalcanal Liberation Front (GLF), an Islamic organization, on June 8, 2002.

In April 2002, six Melanesian Brothers, who were Christian and working with the Catholic church, murdered by the Islamic Guadalcanal Liberation Front.

November 12, 2000: four people were shot and killed by Bougainvilleans at the Gizo Hotel.

These cases were only possible to obtain because of history of the period put together by the Solomon Islands “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” that looked at events in the islands from 1998 to 2003.  Even assuming that these were the only mass public shootings over the years from 1998 through 2015, with a population that averages 490,000 over this period comes to an annual rate of deaths from mass public shootings of 2.27 per million people.

UPDATE: Woo Bum-kon killed 56 people a over two days in South Korea (April 26-27, 1982). It is hard to include him in the above list because there was no large number of people killed in any one single public place, but instead he would kill one or two people in a lot of different public places. He also used grenades to kill people.

A list of terrorist attacks in Europe since 1970 is available here.  Also here is a report from the NYPD, though it does not claim to be comprehensive.

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20 Responses

  1. bill says:

    Where would the killer in South Korea fit in….is he not considered a mass shooter…..is he some other category?

    • johnrlott says:

      The Woo Bum-Kon killings (56 people) were not in one place, but one or two people in different public places as he went around town. He killed 12 people in one house. There have been a number of mass shootings in South Korea, but they tend to fall below the threshold that I have been using of four or more killed.

      South Korean soldier killed five comrades Saturday night and wounded another five, June 21, 2015
      Four dead in South Korea shooting, February 25, 2015
      Shooting Spree At South Korean Military Camp Leaves 2 Dead, 3 Injured, May 12, 2015

    • Dco777 says:

      I believe this incident is what is called a “spree killer”. They get started for some reason and continue to kill people, often at random, until they get surrounded by police or just run out of steam mentally and are stopped or kill themselves.
      Serial killers often are sociopaths who have no concern or empathy for anyone but themselves and get enjoyment from torture or killing. They often “refine” their technique(s) and keep killing often becoming more adept at avoiding detection.
      The “Green River Killer” dumped bodies in running water, often in Oregon, confusing investigators. A spree killer just “goes off” for some reason (which won’t make sense to anyone but them) and kills until they run out of steam through running till tired or surrounded by authorities. They often commit suicide at the end of their sprees.

      • johnrlott says:

        Dear Dco777: If you are referring to the Mumbai killings, almost everyone who was killed of the victims was killed the first day. And that would still ensure that it would be ranked as one of the top attacks even if just the victim deaths during the first day were counted.

      • johnrlott says:

        Dear Dco777: The statement “until they get surrounded by police or just run out of steam mentally and are stopped or kill themselves” would appear to apply to all mass public shootings. In any case, if you are talking about the Mumbai attacks, just the clear shooting deaths on the first couple hours of the attacks in just one or two of the places attacked would clearly put this in the top 10 worst attacks.

  2. Roger MD says:

    Why ignore the very next line where he mentioned the frequency? I know a lot of conservatives and libertarians aren’t smart enough to take in more than one sentence of a time, but this doesn’t disprove his point

    • johnrlott says:

      Dear Roger:
      Thanks very much for your comment. I think that you are referring to the another very similar comment Obama made on this topic. In his address at the eulogy for Rev. Pickney, he doesn’t reference frequency. In his address to the nation after the Charleston attack, he is actually making two different statements: “this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” Please follow that link to see his entire quote. In any case, the per capita frequency rate of death is actually higher in seven European countries than the US even if one limits “mass violence” to only guns. If you also include mass bombings with mass public shootings under “mass violence,” there are a lot of other countries that have higher mass violence rates than the US. See the discussion here.

    • Joe Hensel says:

      If you compare Germany, France (one this year, one avoided only because Americans thwarted it), UK, Norway, and Finland combined to the US, you’re still 100 million short in population, and the frequency is the same. That’s right, the UK had a guy wandering around for 3 hours killing people in 2010, long after their gun ban. The police showed up midway through his crime, he pointed his gun at them, they hid, and he went on his merry way to murder more defenseless Brits.

      I won’t make any comments about your cognitive abilities.

  3. […] happen in other advanced nations so frequently. In fact, they certainly do and most of the worst ones have occurred […]

  4. […] LongWalk is offline   Quote Quick Reply post #4528 of 4528 (permalink) Old Today, 03:50 PM Thor Member     Join Date: Oct 2011 Posts: 6,517 Re: America has a problem with gun insanity "WITH 39 KILLED IN TUNISIA ATTACK, THE TOP THREE MASS PUBLIC SHOOTINGS, 9 OF THE WORST 13, ARE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES" With 39 killed in Tunisia attack, the top three mass public shootings, 9 of the worst 13, are outsid… […]

  5. Greg says:

    The premise of this is, at very least, not corroborated by the data presented. What is the basis for “it is much more accurate to a look at large mass public shootings worldwide”. If we were the question of “are american’s really fatter than people in other countries?” we wouldn’t just poll the very fattest of the fat. Imagine a bell curve of peoples weights — and then take only those over 700lbs, you are MUCH more likely to find that other countries have similar, or even higher, numbers of people over that weight. For example imagine (I don’t know what the real numbers are) that there are many more people who are overweight in the United States than anywhere in the world, but only one person over 700lbs. If this person is the 15th fattest person in the world, you could create a similar story to the one presented in this article: “United states only has 1 of the fattest people in the world”

    Like humans are limited (mostly by death) in their maximum weight, there is also a limit on the number of people that can be killed at one time in one place by a shooter. Thus, because of the upwards bound, one is much more likely to have “worse” shootings in other countries even if shootings in general are far less numerous. Finally — some of these countries have active wars happening in them. Do we really want to draw parallels between the United States and the rampages of warlords in Africa?

    Without any regard for the distribution of people killed in mass shootings it is a statistical farce to compare this group. There is no reason to believe that this argument holds any water as there is no attempt to corroborate the premise!.

    • johnrlott says:

      Dear Greg:

      This study started off just as an attempt to see what were the mass public shootings. That said, definitions of mass public shootings involve some cut off level of the number of people that have to be killed before the attack is classified as a “mass” killing. Traditionally that cut off has been 4 or more people killed. The problem that we ran into in doing this project is that even killings of 30 people in Africa might only get one news story that we could find on the attack. Thus if you are interested measuring whether attacks are occurring more frequently in some countries than others, you have to make sure that you are getting all the cases. You know that you can get all the mass public shootings in the US, but there is no reason to believe that you will get all the mass public shootings where 4 or 5 or 6 or even 10 people are killed in Africa or Southern Asia or even many parts of South America. I thought that this was pretty clear.

  6. Ken says:

    Thanks for publishing this. I see, however, there may be some important omissions. For example, please explain why Columbine (13 dead; at least 21 injured) and Aurora (12 dead; at least 70 injured) didn’t make the list. Are there other shootings that aren’t here?

    I don’t disagree with the premise — that mass murders happen not only in the US — but these seem to be pretty glaring. Please explain.

    Cheers,

    Ken

    • johnrlott says:

      Ken, I am not really sure I understand your question. These attacks are listed in terms of number of people killed, and we looked at all cases where at least 15 people have been killed. So why do you think that those two would make this list? As noted, there are a lot of cases where 14 people were killed in attacks, though those are not intended to be a complete list of those cases.

  7. DavidDavies says:

    The problem with this comparison is that most of those listed seem to be terrorist attacks. This badly skews the data. It does not provide any insight into why the US has so many mass shootings. A terrorist fighting for a cause is different from a mentally unstable kid stealing his mother’s guns and going on a spree. Many terrorists are external to, or funded/armed from sources external to, the country in which they commit their acts and is therefore unrelated to that country’s policy on firearms. Most non-terrorist related mass murderers are domestic and therefore their ability to conduct these acts are often directly related to their abilities to obtain firearms.

    Data can always be made to look as though it promotes your point of view.

  8. Dan says:

    Goof information here. Thanks for sharing. I read it all and it seems to me that what’s missing in their analysis is “lone wolf” v “coordinated attack” differences. In most of the world, their mass shootings are done by groups of people… India, Europe, Africa, etc. They are planned attacks, usually to further a political agenda as well as create terror. The U.S. certainly seems to be the leader when it comes to one or two people being able to put together all of the resources required to shoot and kill dozens of people at one time.

  9. Quora says:

    Why can’t many “gun control” advocates see through the emotion plucking propaganda to put forth viable solutions to this clearly “social” issue?

    You reply with “nuh uhhh”… Are you even trying? http://crimeresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Screen-Shot-2016-04-05-at-Tuesday-April-5-1.05-AM.png http://crimeresearch.org/2016/04/with-39-killed-in-tunisia-attack-the-top-three-mass-public-sh…

  10. […] an indicator. And I think you’ll probably like this one. And then I found this one. This one quite disproves the misleading propaganda from our own demoncrap fanatics. And you are going to have to study the values in there. Again, […]

  11. […] here.  It is also true for the Solomon, which even appear to have only had mass public shootings after the 1999 gun […]

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