A note on mass victim knife attacks around the world: a single, very small 16 year old was able to wound at least 24 people with a knife in just 5 minutes

10 Apr , 2014  

John Lott had a discussion about the Pennsylvania attack on Coast to Coast AM (April 10, 2014 from 1:08 to 1:11 AM).

Franklin Regional High School near Pittsburgh was the horrific scene on Wednesday with “at least 24” injured, including 5 critically wounded. The carnage, which was done in about five minutes, could have been worse. Fortunately, the attacker in this case also seemed not to understand how to properly use the knife, usually slashing his victims. Also, at least one life was saved by another of the victims: “A surgeon came out and congratulated one of the victims by saying she had saved the person’s life by applying pressure to the person’s wound.” The attacker was very small physically, with him described as “a 16-year-old kid who looks like he’s 10.”

Guns obviously make it easier for people to kill others, though they also make it easier for people to defend themselves. Still the harm that can be caused by knife attacks within a very short period of time, even by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, can be seen by looking at some cases of multiple victim knife attacks from China (not meant to be complete as we only spent a short time putting this together, though if people know of other cases, I would appreciate hearing about them).

For the average multiple victim Chinese knife attack since 2010: 4.4 people were killed, and 14.5 injured.
Excluding the Kunming Railway Station attack the average is: 3.1 people killed and 8.6 injured.
If you look at all the cases where at least 4 people were harmed the average attack had: 4.7 people killed and 15.8 injured.

March 28, 2014: 7 injured, with 2 (a woman and four year old boy) seriously injured. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Qinzhou city, in the Guangxi province.

March 27, 2014: 6 were stabbed to death and 7 injured over a property dispute in Beijing.

March 14, 2014: Knife attack in Changsha market leaves 6 dead.

March 1, 2014: 33 people killed and 143 wounded by a group of knife wielding men at the Kunming Railway Station in Yunnan province.

August 26, 2013: 4 dead and 11 injured by a single attacker along Chengdu’s Caojia Alley.

August 20, 2013: 3 killed and at least 12 injured in a knife attack on a bus in the central Henan province.

July 31, 2013: 11 were injured in a knife attack on a bus in Hong Kong.

July 29 2013: 3 people stabbed to death, 5 injured in Shenzhen, in the Guangdong province. Killer randomly attacked people people along the line the side of a road.

July 26, 2013: 5 people killed and 3 wounded in a knife attack in Luohe city in Henan province. After first stabbing people in the village the attack continued in a furniture shop where two more people were killed.

July 22, 2013: Knife attack in a store in Beijing’s Xicheng district leaves 1 dead, 3 wounded.

July 19, 2013: A knife wielding man killed two people at a shopping mall in downtown Beijing. This was probably reported because one of the two murder victims was an American.

May 22 2013: 7 injured (six primary school students and a woman) with a cleaver at a primary school in the Maoming city government in the southern province of Guangdong.

December 14, 2012: Stabbed 23 children and an elderly woman at the village’s primary school as children were arriving for classes

August 2, 2012: Teenager killed 9 and wounded 4 in Yongling town.

January 20, 2012: Seven people were injured, two seriously, in a knife attack Thursday in the city of Zhongshan in south China’s Guangdong Province.

September 14, 2011: 6 killed (two young girls and four adults) near a nursery in Gongyi.

August 30, 2011: 8 children injured at a child-care centre in Minhang District, Shanghai.

August 4, 2010: 4 killed (3 children and one teacher) and about 20 other children wounded at a kindergarten in Zibo, Shandong province.

May 12, 2010: Seven children and two adults were killed and 11 other persons wounded with a cleaver at a kindergarten in Hanzhong, Shaanxi.

April 30, 2010: 28 students, 2 teachers, and one security guard were wounded in a knife attack in a Jiangsu province kindergarten.

April 29, 2010: 16 students and a teacher were wounded at an elementary school in southern Guangdong province.

March 31, 2010: “A man killed a young woman and injured two other people in a knife attack at a university campus in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, officials said Wednesday.”

March 23, 2010: 9 children murdered with a knife at an elementary school in Nanpign, Fujian province.

In China, attacks on people also occur in other ways:

A man distressed by his divorce case intentionally rammed a car into electric scooters and pedestrians near a school in southeastern China on Monday, killing six people, including three children, according to police and state media. . . .

Fuzhou Police said in a written statement that the serial collisions killed six, including three children, and injured 13 others. Police said the man lost control emotionally because of marriage issues. . . .

UPDATE: Even extremely strict gun control laws don’t stop terrorists from making bombs. In China on May 22, 2014, an attack where they drove cars through the crowd and threw bombs — at least 31 people were killed and 90 injured.

UPDATE: Of course, mass stabbings aren’t limited to China and the US. Here is a case were five people were killed in Canada, none wounded.

A University of Calgary student was charged in the fatal stabbing of five people at a house party Tuesday that the police chief called the worst mass slaying in the western Canadian city’s history.

Matthew Douglas de Grood, the son of a 33-year veteran of the Calgary police force, picked up a large knife shortly after arriving at the party and stabbed the victims one by one, said police Chief Rick Hanson.

De Grood, 22, was charged with five counts of murder late Tuesday.

“This is the worst murder – mass murder – in Calgary’s history,” Hanson said at a news conference Tuesday. “We have never seen five people killed by an individual at one scene. The scene was horrific.” . . .

UPDATE: February 17, 2015: Chinese man kills seven family members, himself

. . . The tragedy occurred Monday in Hebei province’s Xiaonangou village, three days ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year, an occasion for family reunions in the country, Xinhua reported.

Police found seven bodies at Wu Shouguo’s home, including that of Wu’s.

Police believe Wu battered his wife, his wife’s parents, two children and two distant relatives to death with a blunt object after a family dispute and then took poison.

UPDATE: August 25th, 2015: 9 killed in latest attack at China school

An attacker with a cleaver hacked to death seven children and two adults at a kindergarten in northwest China on Wednesday, the latest in a string of savage assaults on the country’s schools. Eleven other children were wounded.

The killer, 48-year-old Wu Huanming, returned home after the attack on the outskirts of the city of Hanzhong and committed suicide, the local government reported. A motive wasn’t known, although reports indicated he and the school administrator may have known each other.

It was the fifth such major assault on young students in China since late March and occurred despite increased security at schools countrywide, with gates and security cameras installed and additional police and guards posted at entrances. . . .

UPDATE: Another knife attack in China leaves “40 Dead, Injured” September 22, 2015

A knife attack orchestrated by alleged “separatists” at a coal mine in northwestern China’s troubled Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has resulted in at least 40 casualties, including the deaths of five police officers, and several suspects are believed to be on the run, according to local security officials. . . .

Update: 50 workers were killed.

Japan: July 25, 2016: 19 dead, 20 injured in knife attack outside Tokyo

At least 19 people are dead after a knife attack outside of Tokyo, according to various reports.

Twenty more have been hurt, according to reports, although one news organization listed up to 50 hurt.

A man wielding a knife went on a rampage at a home for the disabled, according to Express.co.uk, the website for the Daily and Sunday Express newspapers in the United Kingdom.

Police responded to a call at about 2:30 a.m. local time of a man seen by the staff of the home outdoor with a knife, the news organization reported.

The man then broke into the home. . . .

Xinjiang region, China, February 14, 2017

Three men armed with knives went on the attack in northwestern China early Wednesday, killing as many as eight people before police shot them dead, according to local media. . . .

Pishan County,February, 14, 2017

five other people were wounded in Wednesday’s stabbings in Pishan county . . .

Changchun, China, May 9, 2017


Police in northern China say 18 people were injured when a man attacked people on a city street with a knife.

The Changchun police department said on its microblog that the 50-year-old suspect in Tuesday’s attack was taken into custody after being shot.

It said none of the injuries were life-threatening and officers were looking further into any possible motivations. The police microblog cited family members as saying that the suspect, Wang Yunwei, had formerly been hospitalized for mental health issues.

China has seen numerous such incidents usually blamed on people with mental health issues or who bore grudges against their neighbors or society as a whole. . . .

Beijing, February 11, 2018

Man with knife kills 1, injures 12 at Beijing mall . . .

Shaanxi, Mizhi County, China, April 27, 2018

A school knife attack killed nine students and left 10 in hospital.  Zhao Zewei, 28, is accused of attacking 19 students near a middle school in Mizhi county in China’s northwestern province of Shaanxi on April 27. . . .

Shanghai, China, June 28, 2018

The police in Shanghai say a man armed with a kitchen knife killed two boys in an attack outside an elementary school on Thursday morning.

Another boy and a woman were also stabbed, but their injuries were not life-threatening, according to a statement from the police in the Xuhui district of Shanghai.

The attack occurred outside the Shanghai World Foreign Language Primary School at about 11:30 a.m. Bystanders helped grab the suspected assailant, whom the police described as a 29-year-old unemployed man who had moved to Shanghai this month.

Beijing, China, February 10, 2019

a 35-year-old man with a personal grievance attacked 13 people with a knife in a busy shopping mall in Beijing on Sunday, killing one. A woman died from her injuries after being sent to a hospital, the city’s Public Security Bureau said in a brief statement.

The 12 other victims in the attack suffered injuries that were not life-threating, it said. . . .

Chaoyangpo, China, September 3, 2019

An attacker killed eight students and injured two others at an elementary school in central China on the first day of the new semester, police said Tuesday.

The attack occurred around 8 a.m. Monday in Chaoyangpo village of Enshi city in Hubei province, Enshi police said in a statement.

The suspect is a 40-year-old man surnamed Yu, who is in custody and being investigated. . . .

Other places.

Marseille train station in southern France, October 1, 2017


The Islamic State terror network claimed Sunday it was behind a knife attack that ended with two women dead at the Marseille train station in southern France.

The claim was carried in a statement Sunday night by the ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency. It said the attacker on Sunday was one of its “soldiers” who acted in response to the group’s calls to target countries involved in the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq. French security forces shot and killed the attacker.

Police sources told Sky News the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he carried out the attack at Gare St. Charles.

One woman had her throat slit and the other was stabbed to death, Fox News has learned.

The attacker was believed to be a man in his late twenties and of North African background. . . .

Surgut, Russia, August 19, 2017

A knife-wielding man went on a stabbing rampage Saturday in a Siberian city, wounding seven people before police shot and killed him.

Islamic State’s Aamaq news agency hours later claimed the attacker was “an Islamic State soldier.” There was no immediate Russian comment and it was unclear if the claim was opportunistic. . . .

Turku, Finland, August 19, 2017

A stabbing in the Finnish city of Turku on Friday that left two people dead and eight others injured is now being investigated as acts “with terrorist intent,” Finland’s national police announced Saturday morning.

teen suspect is Moroccan – just like Barcelona jihadis

More available here.

Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Germany, August 18, 2017

One person was killed and one person was injured in a stabbing incident in the German city of Wuppertal-Elberfeld today, according to police.

Wuppertal police are still searching for one or more suspects related to the stabbings.

A police spokeswoman told ABC News that the stabbing had “absolutely nothing to do with a terror attack.”

Stalowa Wola, Poland, October 20, 2017


A 27-year-old man has been detained after the attack in the south-eastern city of Stalowa Wola.

The man, who police believe was mentally unwell, entered Vivo shopping centre at around 3pm local time and started stabbing people in the back.

He is a resident of Stalowa Wola believed to be named Konrad according to local reports. . . . .
A 50-year-old woman died in the attack at the Vivo shopping mall, police said
Seven people were injured after the man went on a rampage at a shopping mall
Six of the seven people injured in the attack have serious wounds, police said

Paris, France, September 9, 2018

seven victims of a savage knife attack in the French capital, police said last night. A suspect ‘of Pakistani or Afghan origin’ began ‘slashing passers-by’ on the Loire Quay in the north of the city on Sunday night, according to reports.

The knifeman, who was also armed with a metal bar, first stabbed three people outside the MK2 cinema complex, “including two English tourists”, according to investigators.

One was particularly badly hurt after being “stabbed in the head”,  while the other was “cut in the chest.”. . .

Jakarta, Indonesia, February 11, 2018

Knife-wielding attacker wounds four churchgoers in Indonesia

Luebeck, Germany, July 20, 2018

A man armed with a kitchen knife attacked passengers Friday on a crowded city bus in northern Germany before being overpowered and arrested, authorities said. Ten people were injured, three of them seriously. . . . Investigators found a flammable substance in a backpack aboard the bus . . . Five of the victims were still hospitalized Friday evening.

A man suspected of injuring several people in a knife attack on a bus in Luebeck on Friday is originally from Iran but is now a German citizen . . . .

Queens, New York, New York, September 21, 2018

52-year-old woman, who had also stabbed herself, in custody; four victims in stable condition, one in critical condition . . .

A woman stabbed two girls and one boy before turning the blade on herself at a house in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens at 3:40 a.m. Friday, police said. The babies ranged from 13 days old to 1 month old, according to the Queens district attorney’s office. They were all being treated in area hospitals. The adults and two of the children are in stable condition, and one child is in critical condition but expected to live, a law-enforcement official said.

Paris, France, October 3, 2019

The police employee who stabbed to death four colleagues in a suspected terrorist attack at Paris police headquarters on Thursday appeared to have calmly planned his assault and been in contact with people tied to the Salafist fundamentalist movement of Islam, France’s antiterrorist prosecutor said Saturday.

The attacker, a 45-year-old man who worked in an intelligence office at the police headquarters, also exchanged 33 religious text messages with his 38-year-old wife—including the phrase “Allahu akbar”—before leaving his desk to buy the knives he used in the attack, said prosecutor Jean-François Ricard. . . .

The suspect killed three men in the intelligence unit—two officers and one administrative assistant. He then tried to enter another office but found the door locked, and so stabbed two female police employees as he went downstairs to the building’s main courtyard. It was there he was shot dead, Mr. Ricard said. One of the women died and another was wounded in the shoulder, he added.

Manchester, UK, October 11, 2019, five people hurt

A man, 41, is being held on suspicion of terror offences after three people were stabbed and two others were hurt.

The centre was evacuated after the attack at about 11:15 BST, during which police said a man with a large knife “started lunging and attacking people”.

Two police community support officers (PCSOs) tried to confront the attacker before being chased.

Speaking at a press conference, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said it was a “random” and “brutal” attack.

“The man attacked people around him,” he said.

“Although the injuries are nasty, we are told that, thankfully, none are life-threatening.” . . .

Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan, May 27, 2019 (2 murdered, 15 injured, 3 very seriously)

An elementary school girl and a man in his 30s have been pronounced dead after a stabbing rampage close to Japan’s capital city of Tokyo on Tuesday morning, which also saw the suspect die of a self-inflicted injury, local police said.

Fifteen other school girls were injured in the mass knife attack, which is believed to have been carried out by a man in his 40s or 50s who was taken into custody but later died as a result of a self-inflicted knife wound to his neck, according to the police.

Local police said that among those injured in the frenzied attack, two girls and a woman in her 40s are currently being treated for serious injuries. . . .


The elementary school girls, who were waiting for their bus at the time of the rampage, are believed to be pupils of the Caritas Elementary School, a private Catholic school in Kawasaki. . . .

London, UK, November 29, 2019


Two people were fatally stabbed and several others were wounded in a terror attack at the London Bridge Friday afternoon, officials said.

Police shot and killed the male suspect at the scene after members of the public intervened.

Scotland Yard officials identified the suspect as Usman Khan, 28.

“This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offenses. He was released from prison in December 2018 on license and clearly, a key line of inquiry now is to establish how he came to carry out this attack,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said Friday night. . . .

Monsey, NY, December 28, 2019


A man attacked a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home north of New York City late Saturday, stabbing and wounding five people before fleeing in a vehicle, police said. . . .

Police said the stabbings happened at around 10 p.m. in Monsey, one of several Hudson Valley towns that have seen an influx in large numbers of Hasidic Jews in recent years. . . .

Lyon, France, April 4, 2020

Knife attack in France kills two and injures five.

A fatal knife attack in the south-east of France that left two people dead is being investigated by France’s anti-terror police. Early on Saturday morning in the centre of the town of Romans-sur-Isère, near Lyon, a man of Sudanese origin killed two people and injured another five before being arrested by police. Two of those injured are in critical condition.


A third person has been detained in a anti-terrorism investigation in France over a knife attack south of Lyon that left two people dead, authorities said Sunday.

The third arrest was made Saturday night, and that all three of the suspects are Sudanese, the French anti-terror prosecutor’s office said.

Knoxville, Tennessee, April 7, 2020

A stabbing suspect who was shot and killed after fatally stabbing three women and hospitalizing a fourth at a Knoxville truck stop early Tuesday has been identified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. . . .

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed three female victims were fatally stabbed and another woman was transported to a nearby hospital.

The condition of the hospitalized individual is unknown at the time.

The stabbing suspect, Abdus-Salaam, was shot and killed by law enforcement . . . .

Paris, France, October 16, 2020

A teacher has been beheaded in a north-western suburb of Paris, with the attacker shot dead by police.

The victim is said to have shown controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his students.

The attack occurred at about 17:00 local time (15:00 GMT) near a school. Anti-terror prosecutors are investigating. 

French President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene, calling the killing an “Islamist terrorist attack”. 

Mr Macron said he was murdered because he “taught freedom of expression”. The victim has not been named.

The knife-wielding attacker was shot as officers tried to arrest him in the aftermath of the attack.

“Terror inquiry after teacher beheaded near Paris,” BBC News, October 16, 2020.

Nice, France, October 29, 2020

An attacker armed with a knife killed three people at a church Thursday in the Mediterranean city of Nice, authorities said. It was the third attack in two months in France.

The assailant was wounded by police and hospitalized after the killings at the Notre Dame Church, less than a half-mile from the site in 2016 where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens.

Thursday’s attacker was believed to be acting alone and police are not searching for other assailants, said two police officials, who were not authorized to be publicly named.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office opened an investigation into the killings, which marked the third attack since the opening in September of a terrorism trial in the January 2015 killings at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured,” said Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who told BFM television that three people had died, two inside the church and a third who fled but was mortally wounded. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”

Joshua Bote, “3 dead in ‘terrorist’ knife attack in French church, second beheading in two weeks,” USA Today, October 29, 2020.

More on the Nice attack in October 2020.

A young Tunisian man armed with a knife and carrying a copy of the Quran attacked worshippers in a French church and killed three Thursday . . .

Lori Hinnant and Daniel Cole, “Tunisian carrying Quran fatally stabs 3 in French church,” Associated Press, October 29, 2020.

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4 Responses

  1. […] course, mass stabbings aren’t just limited to China and the US.  Here is a case were five people were killed in Canada, none wounded.   From CBS […]

  2. Oliver W. says:

    Briefly, some additions to the list.

    From Australia (8 killed) …
    Cairns child killings

    From the U.S. (5 killed) …
    Dexter Lewis gets life sentence for Fero’s Bar massacre
    [surprisingly sparse national press coverage for that case]

    From Japan …
    Osaka School Killings (8 killed, 15 wounded)

    … also from Japan …
    (automobile and knife – 7 killed, 10 wounded)

    From Nigeria (many such mass killings, usually with machetes; in this one instance, over 200 killed) …

    More from Nigeria …

    And, of course, Rwanda (preferred weapons, machetes and clubs) …

    You folks are doing very good work in a variety of areas and I’m sure you already have too much to do, but a central clearinghouse location for a list of non-firearm mass killings would be helpful in many ways.

    Arson is a common method of mass killings in Australia, but they are loathe to publish details because copycats are always lurking … and the government and police have a lot of control over the Australian press. I am still working on uncovering arson examples from Oz.

    Some examples of the harm arson can accomplish …

    Also, there was Douglas Crabbe who killed 5 and wounded 16 with his 25 tonne Mack truck near Uluru …

    A list of international bombings would be too hopelessly large for anyone to undertake, but perhaps such a list for the U.S. would be useful.

    Many thanks for your efforts.

  3. URL says:

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  4. BostonTea says:

    I didn’t fin this on you list of knife attacks in China:

    2016 – A “socially awkward” 27-year-old gambling addict slaughtered 19 people including a three-year-old girl in a remote Chinese mountain village.


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