"Rampage Killer" is an umbrella term for Spree Killer or Mass Murderer, a person who kills multiple people in a short period of time, with no cooling off period. There are only minor differences between the two terms, as detailed below.

Definition Edit

The spree killer has usually become alienated from society and no longer feels any connection with the rest of humanity. They may feel that the world has come crashing down on them and that the only solution is death. They will feel that their own lives are over, and aim to take as many people with them as they can. Another type of spree killer (the so-called "classic type") is the "killer on the run", someone who commits murder or potentially deadly attacks while evading capture by the law. Examples of this type include Allan Legere, Andrew Cunanan, and Florence Rey.

Once their killing spree is over, subjects of this type most often either commit suicide or force law enforcement to use deadly force against them ("suicide by cop"). They prefer death over the prospect of indefinite incarceration.

The mass murderer, while being nearly identical, differs in the fact that their murders will occur in one place. A spree killer may "visit" multiple locations, sometimes over the course of several days.

Victimology Edit

Both types may target a certain demographic, or even specific targets. These may include fellow students who gave the subject a hard time, a college professor who gave them a bad grade, or a group of bullies. The Columbine massacre is a perfect example of revenge against bullies (though this fact was never confirmed as being official).

Mass murderers, specifically, may include suicide bombers and other types of terrorists who commit their murders with a single act.

Alternatively, either type may commit multiple murders for no apparent reason other than the desire to kill.

Modus Operandi Edit

Unlike serial killers, spree killers most often use firearms or similar weapons. Mass murderers most often use explosives, firearms, or biological weapons.

Examples Edit

Spree Killer Edit

Mass Murderer Edit

Suspect Behavior Edit

Spree KillerEdit

Serial killers who devolved into spree killers include:

Mass MurdererEdit

See AlsoEdit


  • The most prolific spree killer in modern history was Anders Behring Breivik, a Norweigan man who was arrested as a suspect for a car bombing in Oslo and a mass shooting at a nearby island youth camp on July 22, 2011, both of which occurred on the same day and claimed the lives of 77 people. Eight people were killed by the car bomb, which occurred first; at least 209 others were injured, twelve of them seriously. 67 additional victims were killed in the following camp massacre, with two others dying from indirect means; 32 others were injured, while at least an additional 77 others were injured from indirect means. The incident, which has been compared to the Oklahoma City bombing committed by Timothy McVeigh in the sense that both were domestic terrorists who used explosives made from fertilizer, has been called an act of terrorism by authorities. Breivik mentions McVeigh in his diary, which was released a few days after the massacre and reveals that he first began planning his act at the beginning of 2010. He also states in the diary that his intention was to form a templar order meant to become "the foremost conservative revolutionary movement in Western Europe of the nearest decades". He has claimed to have been resisting the "Islamization" of Europe. Though he has confessed to the attacks, he has not admitted criminal responsibility and has claimed the acts to be in self-defense during his trial. Several psychiatrists have said that he is schizophrenic and was psychotic during the massacre, though later reports denied this. In August 2012, a court found him sane and guilty and sentenced him to containment, meaning his jail time can practically be extended indefinitely.
  • The rampage killer criteria describes a somewhat uninterrupted rampage and the end of said killing spree through arrest or death, either by police officers or suicide. However, there has been only one exception to this fact: William Unek, an African police constable who murdered a total of 21 people with an ax near Mahagi, Belgian Congo, on an unspecified date in 1954. He then avoided capture for three years, eventually hiding in Tanganyika. Unek was then captured after he perpetrated a second, more deadlier killing rampage in the town of Malampaka, in which he brutally killed 36 additional people by either shooting, stabbing, burning, or strangulation. He was able to avoid capture again for nine days, to then he was tracked down by police and mortally wounded by a fire that engulfed the house he was hiding in. Unek later died of his injuries. With a total of 57 people killed and at least an additional 30 injured, he would be considered the second-deadliest spree killer in modern history, only below Anders Behring Breivik as described above, but as his killings occurred in two separate events that were three years apart, this position is officially held by Woo Bum-kon, a South Korean spree killer who murdered 56 people and injured an additional 35 before committing a suicide bombing.