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James Edward Swann, Jr., a.k.a. "The Shotgun Stalker", (born 1964), is an American serial killer whose random drive-by shotgun shootings in Washington, DC in 1993 earned him his nickname in the press. Swann was living in Iselin, New Jersey before the attacks.[1] He drove to Washington to carry out the attacks, which took place in the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods. Each of the attacks followed a standard format: Swann would slow his car down next to a pedestrian and fire a 20-gauge shotgun at the target before driving away. Four people were killed and five injured in 14 attacks by Swann before he was apprehended by the Metropolitan Police on April 19, 1993.[1]

Swann was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to Saint Elizabeths Hospital.[2] He claimed to have been driven to the killings by voices in his head, including that of the ghost of Malcolm X, who told him to kill people in Northwest Washington -- the "civil rights side of town" -- because they had been responsible for the civil rights leader's assassination in 1965.[2] [3]


  1. ^ a b Kovaleski, Serge F. (20 April 1993). "N.J. man arrested after another shotgun slaying". Washington Post.  
  2. ^ a b Duggan, Paul (27 Sep 1994). "Shotgun stalker ruled insane, not guilty". Washington Post.  
  3. ^ McKay, Jack. "shotgun stalker". Retrieved 2007-12-19.  


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