Statistics by Year of the 17 Mass Murders Associated with Faith-Based Organizations.
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.
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.
March 27th, 2023. Nashville, TN - Covenant Presbyterian Church Private School. A transgender female killed 3 children and 3 adults in the building during school hours.
These are the 17 worst murders occurring at FBO’s on US soil. No known 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 – 2023 2 incident in 3 years. Total deaths = 10 (average of 3.3 deaths per year)
124 innocent lives taken in an increasing trend.
Statistics by Attack Trigger of the 17 Mass Murders Associated with Faith-Based Organizations
17 events as it related to the motives (attack triggers) of those attacks.
Here is the full list.
9/15/1963. Birmingham, AL. 4 killed.
6/22/1980. Daingerfield, TX. 5 killed.
8/9& 10/1991. Waddell, AZ. 9 killed.
3/10/1999. Gonzales, LA. 4 killed.
9/15/1999. Ft. Worth, TX – 7 killed.
3/12/2005. Brookfield, WI – 7 killed.
8/28/2005. Sash, TX – 4 killed.
5/21/2006. Baton Rouge, LA – 5 killed.
10/2/2006. Lancaster County, PA – 5 killed.
12/9/2007. Arvada and Colorado Springs, CO – 4 killed.
4/2/2012. Oakland, CA – 7 killed.
8/5/2012. Oak Creek, WI. 7 killed.
6/17/2015. Charleston, SC – 9 killed.
11/5/2017. Sutherland Springs, TX – 26 killed.
10/27/2018. Pittsburgh, PA – 11 killed
2/28/2022. Sacramento, CA – 4 killed.
3/27/2023. Nashville, TN - 6 killed.
Here is the data as it relates to attack triggers.
The overall top reasons (attack triggers) for all 2,183 deadly force incidents are different from those of the 16 most violent (mass murder) attacks. While “bias” related (against any religion or people group) is very uncommon (5.08%) of 2,183 recorded incidents, it is the most common reason for a mass murder event. 6 of those 16 attacks (37.5%) were bias motivated.
Domestic violence however is the 2nd most common attack trigger (14.3%) for all 2,183 incidents as well as the 2nd most common (4 or 25%) of the mass murder events.
While robbery is the most common reason a deadly force incident has occurred of the overall study (24.68% of event triggers) it has only resulted in 1 mass murder event at a ministry.
Statistics by Year of the 2,283 Deadly Force Incidents Associated with Faith-Based Organizations from 1999-2018.
Nearly 53% of all deadly force incidents at faith-based organizations are due to a robbery, domestic violence, or a personal conflict.
Over 75% of deadly force incidents occurred (or began) outside on ministry property, parking lot or activity location
Over 61% of attacks occurred when no event was happening
The data on this page is only that associated with deadly force incidents and suspicious deaths at churches and ministries in the U.S.. The data is dynamic, but gathered from enough incidents that trends are stabilizing.
There is no agenda to prove anything other than the importance of intentional security and safety by every ministry – regardless of size.
The FBSN records the data from open sources as the investigative team is able to confirm it, allowing others to reach conclusions on other statistics (such as church shootings, domestic violence in church, church specific attacks or other details related to developing a church security plan).
We are especially grateful to many who have written or met with us regarding their personal experience in some of the stories. Many have sent us stories that were missed along the way. We are grateful for every clarification, correction and revelation provided by all of you. Your information will help make ministries safer everywhere.
If you know of incidents not found, or have personal experiences with any of those stories found in the Incident History tab, please write us – the more we all know, the better prepared others will be. Send your experiences to info@FBSNAmerica.com.
The FBSN has taken over the Deadly Force Incident study started by Carl Chinn in 1999. This important study is now being conducted by a team of FBSN volunteers working through yearly details. You will see updates as soon as they are ready. 2019 Narratives are posted for download below.
Return to this page often to see how the effort is progressing.
Disclaimer Notice on incident stories and statistics: All crimes are “alleged” pending court. All offenders are innocent until proven guilty.
Extensive effort has been made to verify accuracy in each story summary. Information is gathered from major news syndicates, law enforcement press releases, and public court records. While great care is taken with the wording of each incident, a certain margin of error exists in any collection of data. We welcome any corrective suggestions discovered by readers. The FBSN or it’s volunteer investigators cannot be held responsible for errors, but will correct any error discovered as soon as more accurate information is confirmed.
This incident tracking includes all incidents where the senior pastor (and / or members of the pastor’s family) was murdered (or committed suicide) at their home, or murdered someone else themselves. Such an event would impact any church deeply, so we need to know about these as well. Though relatively few, it makes it difficult for those wanting a simple narrative of these incidents happening, “only at churches and faith-based organizations.” A proper way of saying it, is “directly impacting churches and faith-based organizations” OR “Associated with …”
When Carl Chinn started tracking deadly force incidents associated with faith-based organizations he had ideas of what such an incident looked like. Those ideas came from archetypical stories like Alvin Lee King (6/22/1980) or Shon Miller (3/10/1999) shooting church congregants as they sat in a worship service. As reading dozens of stories in a few years turned into researching hundreds of stories over more than a decade, a clearer understanding of the assorted nature of deadly force incidents emerged. Details of every attack are unique, but patterns developed and trends emerged to challenge pre-conceived notions. The reality of vulnerabilities and what really constituted a deadly force incident expanded.
By 2005, it was clear that the number of deadly force incidents recorded surprised the American public – nobody had any idea of the frequency and volume of deadly force incidents related to US churches and ministries. Chinn wanted to publish the findings — to list stories that would be of applicable interest to church security operators and to provide occasional details as lessons learned.
One of the biggest misconceptions still encountered with some readers is that we should only be concerned about an incident that has something to do specifically with the church – an opinion that we should analyze the details of an attack on faith-based property to see if there was some sort of “connection” to the ministry.
As if a stabbing at a Wal-Mart would have to be related to the cost of toilet paper for store security to be concerned? If a dead body showed up on the front steps of your home it would be irrelevant to you? If a drug deal turned bad and ended with gunfire on the White House lawn it wouldn’t be noteworthy if the President wasn’t even there at the time and no connection to the President could be confirmed? Any church that has experienced violence on their grounds knows how personal it is, whether it happened during a service or not and regardless of the connection to the church.
There is (at least should be) a connection between the church and the community. If we become so disconnected as to not care when a gang fight in our parking lot claims a young life, we are missing our mission. The Central Church of Christ of Sarasota Florida modeled this connection for others after the body of 11-year old Carlie Brucia was found in their parking lot on Feb 5th 2004 following her abduction from a nearby car wash on Feb 1st. Though no evidence suggested she was actually killed there, the church now conducts an annual “Kids Safety Rally” and maintains a “Garden of Joy” in Carlie’s honor. It hit them as it should. It was their community and the crime had a dark and significant component of it that occurred on their property.
We also know there are still stories missed. We know police officers who have worked homicides, attempted homicides and suicides at faith-based properties where there was never any discoverable information publicized. If not allowed to record the source in the data, we do not publish the story.
A deadly force incident is still one of the least likely things to happen at a ministry even though the research published on this website verifies it happens more than previously thought.
Statistics can be found (or manipulated) to support predetermined opinions. So care must be taken in the gathering and presentation. We try very hard to discover and present simple truth in numbers and narratives. There is no agenda aside from information for the proliferation of awareness in order to start, improve or confirm safety and security readiness in faith-based operations.
This website is not in competition with any other website, speaker or author. Others contribute many good things through their websites and diverse venues. Paul said, “Test everything. Hold on to the good,”[i] Test what you find here and on other sites then apply the combination of all the best to your specific ministry. But get started .
You will find incidents from the most recent last full year prior summarized on this site. There are volumes of news stories, court documents, and eyewitness accounts of these stories compiled into statistical information which has been summarized in the tab of VIOLENCE STATISTICS in order to establish meaningful data.
Contact us at info@FBSNAmerica.com if you wish to offer information on any of the listed stories, ones missed, or for a copy of the “Story Source and Publishing Policy.”
Thank you for your visit to this website, and keep up the great work of keeping His people safe.
[i] 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (New International Version)
Copyright Notice: If you can use any material on this website to make churches or ministries safer, please do so. Please pass on the information as freely as it is given.