The Top 5 Worst Gun Massacres by an Individual

  Perpetrator Location Date Victims
1 Anders Behring Breivik
(aged 32, captured)
Utøya Island, Norway 22 Jul 2011 77 killed,
(151 wounded)
2 Stephen Paddock
(aged 64, suicide at scene)
Las Vegas, Nevada 01 Oct 2017 58 killed,
(489 wounded)
3 Woo Bum-Kon
(aged 27, suicide at scene)
Sang-Namdo, South Korea 26 Apr 1982 57 killed,
(35 wounded)
4 Brenton Harrison Tarrant
(aged 28, arrested off scene)
Christchurch, New Zealand 15 March 2019 51 killed
(49 wounded)
5 Omar Seddique Mateen
(aged 29, killed at scene)
Orlando, Florida USA 12 June 2016 49 killed
(53 wounded)
Share on Social Media:
 Special Report
  1. According to forensic psychiatrists most mass murderers who commit their atrocious acts in high numbers do so because of generalized paranoia and rage against the world rather than a specific grudge. This theory is called "representative victimization" and is the second most common kind of mass murderer (after targeted victims such as at a workplace). This type of murderer is one who targets people who represent what they consider to be the source of their woes. In such cases, "the perpetrator has a grudge against the world and feels that if it were not for the system, things would have gone better for him," says criminologist James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who with colleague Jack Levin has studied every mass murder in the United States since the early 1980s. "He doesn't care who he kills as long as he kills a lot of people." About 16 percent of mass killings target complete strangers, said Levin, professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern. They are not necessarily more or less severely mentally ill than murderers who target acquaintances or people who belong to a group they resent, but their pathology takes a distinct form. Wide-ranging suspicion that the world has treated you unfairly can be a sign of paranoid personality disorder. The American Psychiatric Association defines that condition as "a pervasive distrust and auspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood." (a.) The rate of killings in the U.S. involving five or more victims — one generally accepted definition of a mass killing — represents less than 1% of all homicides. Mass killing, says Diane Follingstad, a professor of clinical and forensic psychology at the University of South Carolina, "is a low baserate thing. It just does not happen very often." (b.)
  2. Woo Bum-Kon was a Korean police officer in the mountainous region of Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea. Bum-Kon carried out the worst recorded killing spree in known history killing 56 people and then himself after having an argument with his girlfriend. After drinking large amounts of whisky he then raided the police armoury of its weapons and built a personal arsenal. Bum-Kon then stole a single high-powered rifle and some grenades and left the armoury. Around dinner time he then started walking from house to house, and abused his position as a police officer to make people feel safe and gain entry to their homes. Then he shot the victims, or killed the entire family with a grenade. He continued this pattern for the next eight hours and into the early morning hours of April 27th traversing 5 villages on his killing spree. Finally, Woo took his final two grenades and strapped them to his body, he then held three people captive and then exploded the grenades, killing both himself and his final victims.
  3. Martin Bryant reportedly had an obsession with the movie trilogy Child's Play. His killing spree lasted 8 hours. He is currently serving 35 life sentences plus 1,035 years without parole in the psychiatric wing of Risdon Prison in Hobart Australia. Bryant allegedly told a next door neighbour that "I'll do something that will make everyone remember me." Bryant initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, but was persuaded by his court-appointed lawyer and the prosecution to plead guilty to all charges. He has attempted suicide six times while being imprisoned and now resides at the Wilfred Lopes Centre, a secure mental health unit run by the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services which is a 35-bed unit for inmates with serious mental illness which is staffed with doctors, nurses and other support workers. Inmates are not locked down and can come and go to and from their cells.
  4. Omar Mir Seddique Mateen has been named as the gunman who killed 50 people and wounded 53 others (developing) at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida United States. He reportedly has ties to radical Islam although this has not been confirmed at the time of publishing.
  5. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many others in two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, before committing suicide. He had previously been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder and during much of his middle school and high school years, he received therapy and special education support. In 2005, Cho was accused of stalking two female students. After an investigation, a Virginia special justice declared Cho mentally ill and ordered him to attend treatment. 10-12 minutes after the second attack began, Cho shot himself in the head. During this second assault, he had fired at least 174 rounds, killing 30 people and wounding 17 more. During the two attacks, Cho killed five faculty members and 27 students before committing suicide. The Virginia Tech review panel reported that Cho's gunshots wounded 17 other people; six more were injured when they jumped from second-story windows to escape.
Top 5 facts sources:
  1. Chicago Tribune. 2012. "Accused Colorado killer no easy fit for mass murderer profile" Retrieved July 25th, 2012.
  2. Kiviat, B., Park, A., Sayre, C., "Inside a Mass Murderer's Mind." 2007. April. 19th. Time. Retrieved July 25th, 2012.
Tags: Top 5 Worst, Death Statistics, Crime & Punishment Statistics, Weapons and Arms Statistics

Sources:  Various. Top 5 of Anything research 2020.

List Notes: Data is worst massacres committed with a firearm by one person in recent, known, history that can be verified. Age is perpetrators age at the time of the killings. List does not include the perpetrator in the number of people killed. List is accurate as of June 2016.

Important note: presents this unfortunate list in the interest of historical facts only. is completely against the exploitation of these horrible crimes for entertainment or business purposes. We are acutely aware that each victim listed above was a person with a family and friends who deeply feel their tragic and senseless loss.
Worst Gun Massacres by an Individual

Related Top 5 Lists