This message is updated to include the recent mass murder in Sacramento, CA.
The FBI defined “Mass Murder” as, “A number of murders (four or more) occurring during the same incident, with no distinctive time period between the murders. These events typically involved a single location, where the killer murdered a number of victims in an ongoing incident.”
The word “typically” is specific. Four of the following stories were the same killer & incident, but different crime scenes (3/10/1999, 8/28/2005, 5/21/2006 and 12/09/2007).
With this definition applied to Faith-based organizations operating on U.S. soil, we observe the following incidents:
September 15th, 1963. Birmingham, AL — 16th Street Baptist Church. Four men killed four girls.
June 22nd, 1980. Daingerfield, TX — First Baptist Church. A man killed five at the church.
August 9th & 10th, 1991. Waddell, AZ — Wat Promkunaram Buddhist Temple. Two teenagers killed nine in the temple.
March 10th, 1999. Gonzales, LA — New St. John Baptist Church. A man killed one at a home then three related in the church.
September 15th, 1999. Ft. Worth, TX — Wedgewood Baptist Church. A man killed seven in the church.
March 12th, 2005. Brookfield, WI — Living Church of God. A congregant killed seven in the church.
August 28th, 2005. Sash, TX — Sash Assembly of God Church. A man killed two at the church, then two down the road.
May 21st, 2006. Baton Rouge, LA — Ministry of Jesus Christ Church. A man killed 4 in the church then kidnapped another killing her elsewhere.
October 2nd, 2006. Lancaster County, PA — Old Order Amish school (West Nickel Mines School). A man killed five girls in the school.
December 9th, 2007. Arvada and Colorado Springs, CO — YWAM (Arvada) and New Life Church (CO Springs). A man killed two at YWAM then two at New Life Church.
April 2nd, 2012. Oakland, CA — Oikos University (a small Christian ran university). An angry student killed seven in the school.
August 5th, 2012. Oak Creek, WI – Sikh Temple. A man killed six in the temple (A 7th died in 2020 after never recovering).
June 17th, 2015. Charleston, SC — Emanuel AME Church. A man killed nine in the church.
November 5th, 2017. Sutherland Springs, TX — First Baptist Church. A man killed 26 in the church.
October 27th, 2018. Pittsburgh, PA – Tree of Life Synagogue. A man killed 11 in the synagogue.
February 28th, 2022. Sacramento, CA – The Church in Sacramento. A man killed his 3 daughters and their chaperone in the church,
Think About it;
These are the 16 worst murders occurring at FBO’s on US soil. I have not found an example of a mass murder at a faith-based organization that occurred before 1963*. So, no Mass Murders occurred at a faith-based organization on U.S. soil until 1963. Here is how it breaks out since;
1963 – 1979 1 incident in 17 years. Total deaths = 4 (average of .24 victims per year).
1980 – 1989 1 incident in 10 years. Total deaths = 5 (average of .50 victims per year).
1990 – 1999 3 incidents in 10 years. Total deaths = 20 (average of 2 victims per year).
2000 – 2009 5 incidents in 10 years. Total deaths = 25 (average of 2.5 victims per year).
2010 – 2019 5 incidents in 10 years. Total deaths = 60 (average of 6 victims per year).
2020 – 2022 1 incident in 2 years. Total deaths = 4 (average of 2 deaths per year)
118 innocent lives taken in an increasing trend.
* The investigation remains open on the December 1st, 1958 fire at Our Lady of Lords Catholic School in Chicago where 95 died. It was likely an arson (which would be murder), but the cause remains “undetermined.”