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April 10, 2000, New York Times, A View of Rampage Killers Across the Country,

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April 10, 2000, New York Times, A View of Rampage Killers Across the Country,

The New York Times set out to study rampage killings by gathering a detailed database of as many such crimes as could be discovered by searching news clippings, scientific papers and other sources.

Times researchers and reporters found 100 cases that met strictly Defined criteria aimed at encompassing the kind of crimes that seem to have become more common recently. The crime had to have multiple victims, at least one of whom died, and to have occurred substantially at one time and in a place where people gather - a workplace, a school, a mall, a restaurant, a train.

Multiple murders that were the result of domestic strife, armed robbery or political terrorism were excluded, as were serial killings.

Reporters and researchers then delved deeply into each crime, reviewing newspaper reports and court transcripts and interviewing prosecutors, victims, families and, when possible, the killers. Reporters recorded more than 90 separate pieces of information on each crime into a Lotus Notes database. The information ranged from demographic data to mental health histories, victim relationships, weapons used, warning signs, time of day and criminal records.

The 100 cases include 20 shootings at schools, 11 at a restaurant or shopping mall, and 32 at the killer's workplace. They encompass 102 offenders who killed 428 people and injured 508.

Although attempts were made to be as complete as possible, the database may not include every attack of this type over the last 50 years. But it does include, through consultation with several criminologists and other experts, all of the deadliest and most notorious cases going back five decades.

Experts acknowledged it to be the largest and most inclusive database of such multi-victim murders in the United States, and suggested it should be considered an initial step in a systematic study of a largely unexamined field.

"This should be seen as a way of starting the conversation and getting good social science going," said Franklin Zimring, director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute at the University of California at Berkeley.

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stevenwarran

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on Jul 29, 13