Categorizing the Typologies of School Shooting Events

Shootings that Typically Occur in the School Setting (Muschert, 2008, p. 62)
Incident Type
Perpetrator
Motive
Examples of Cases


Rampage Shootings
Member or former member of the school (such as a student, former student, employee, or former employee)
Deliberate attack on a group of students and faculty for symbolic significance, often to carry out an act of revenge or to gain a sense of power
1999 Columbine High School Shootings (Colorado, U.S.)

2007 Virginia Tech Shootings (Virginia, U.S.)

1989 Montreal Massacre (Quebec, Canada)


Mass Murder Shootings
Does not hold a past or present connection with the institution; typically an adult who is not a former employee of student
Deliberate attack on a group of students and faculty for symbolic significance and to gain a sense of power



Terrorist Style Shootings
Individuals or groups of individuals who have no connection to school yet who engage in violent acts against it
Motivated attack on students and faculty to advance political and ideological goals, often through hostage-taking situations
2004 Beslan Terrorist Attack (Beslan, Russia)


Targeted Shootings
Member or former member of the school (such as a student, former student, employee, or former employee)
Revenge targeted at pre-selected individuals for a real or perceived maltreatment
1989 Montreal Massacre (Quebec, Canada)

1) Rampage Shootings
Signify the type of school violence that has recently attracted the most public attention. Rampage shootings involve attacks on a school institution in front of an audience and involve multiple victims, whom may either be chosen at random or may hold significance to the perpetrator. Frequently, the motivation is to exact revenge on the community or groups within the community or to gain a sense of power over others. The rationale for attacking the school can be seen as a method for subsequently attacking the community at large (Muschert, 2008, p. 62). Any school shooting committed by a student against a group of bullies would be a prime example of this event.

2) Mass Murder Shootings
These shootings are typically carried out by individuals who hold no connection to the institution, yet who target students and faculty in general. Mass murder shootings are often committed by individuals who are motivated by desires for power or revenge over others (Muschert, 2008, p. 62).

3) Terrorist Style Shootings
These shootings involve a school institution, faculty, and students who are selected as a target in a deliberate attack that is largely politically motivated. Attacks on children and schools may be seen as especially shocking to the community, bringing considerable attention to the terrorist group (Muschert, 2008, p. 62). The Beslan School hostage crisis serves as an example of this type of school shooting. This was an event which involved the hostage taking of over 1,100 people by Ingush and Chechen militants, ending in the deaths of 385 students and faculty members.

4) Targeted Shootings
Targeted shootings involve a perpetrator that holds a connection to the school, who deliberately attacks an individual or group of individuals for a real or perceived maltreatment. This type of attack is not seen as targeting the entire institution; rather, the focus is on one specific person or group or persons within the school that have in some way wronged the shooter (Muschert, 2008, p. 62). To illustrate this type of shooting, one can take into perspective the 1989 Montreal Massacre by Marc Lepine. After beleiving that he was wronged by women who attended Ecole Polytechnique, and claiming that he was "fighting feminism", Lepine purposely seeked out and shot women; ultimately killing fourteen.