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"Killing Spree" redirects here. See Killing Spree‎ for the film of that name.

A spree killer is someone who embarks on a murderous assault on his or her victims (two or more) in a short time in multiple locations. The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics defines a spree killing as "killings at two or more locations with almost no time break between murders."[1] According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) the general definition of spree murder is two or more murders committed by an offender or offenders, without a cooling-off period; the lack of a cooling-off period marking the difference between a spree murder and a serial murder. The category has however been found to be of no real value to law enforcement, because of definitional problems relating to the concept of a "cooling-off period".[2] Serial killers are different in that the murders are clearly separate events, happening at different times, while the attacks of mass murderers are defined by one incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders.[2] Another term, rampage killer, has been used to describe spree killers. This term is often used for both mass murderers and spree killers however, since they are basically two different manifestations of the same psychological phenomenon.


Notably large spree killings

Notably large spree killings include:

United States

  • University of Texas at Austin massacre (United States, 1966): Charles Whitman, a student at the University of Texas at Austin killed 14 people and wounded 31 others as part of a shooting rampage from the observation deck of the University's 32-story administrative building. He did this shortly after murdering his wife and mother. He was eventually shot and killed by an Austin police officer.
  • The Casanova Killer (United States, 1974): Paul John Knowles, after a close friend rejected his marriage proposal, murdered 18 people in a statewide killing spree across northern Florida. After his apprehension in Georgia, Knowles was shot to death during an attempt to commandeer the police cruiser he was riding in the back of.
  • Briley Brothers (United States, 1979): Anthony Ray Briley, James "J.B." Briley, Jr. and Linwood Briley, all brothers, murdered ten people over the course of seven months, typically using guns and knives. James and Linwood Briley were put to death in the Virginia State Penitentiary electric chair, while Anthony Briley remains incarcerated.
  • Red Lake massacre (United States, 2005): Jeff Weise shot and killed his grandfather and his grandfather's girlfriend, both police officers. He then proceeded to a local high school and shot and killed a security guard. Once inside the school Weise shot and killed five students and a teacher before committing suicide. Weise killed 9 and injured 15.




  • Cuers shooting spree (France, 1995): 16-year-old Eric Borel, after killing his mother, stepfather and half-brother the previous day, went on a shooting spree in Cuers on September 24, where an additional 12 people were shot dead before he killed himself.


  • Winnenden school shooting (Germany, 2009): 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer, using a Beretta 92FS, killed 15 on March 11 in two separate locations before shooting himself. Among the victims were mostly female classmates and pedestrians.



South Korea



  • Dnepropetrovsk maniacs (Ukraine, 2007): An unusual group murder spree. Viktor Sayenko, Alexander Hanzha and Igor Suprunyuck, all 19, went on several murder sprees, claiming 21 victims in one month and videotaping most murders. Two victims were murdered within minutes of each other on June 25; two more on July 1, three on July 7, and two each on the 14th, 15 and 16 July, 2007.

United Kingdom

See also


  1. ^ Charalambous, Nick, and Meryl Dillman. "No evidence of spree killer yet, police say". The Anderson Independent-Mail (Anderson, South Carolina), December 17, 2006. Accessed 8 July 2008.
  2. ^ a b Morton, Robert J., and Mark A. Hilts (eds.) Serial Murder — Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Accessed 4 July 2009.
  3. ^ 津山三十人殺し―日本犯罪史上空前の惨劇 (Akira Tsukuba, 2001) ISBN 4102901280.

Further reading

  • Pantziarka, Pan (2000). Lone Wolf: True Stories of Spree Killers. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 0-7535-0437-5. 

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