Thugs firing randomly into crowds. Was this ever done in the past or is it mainly a modern practice?

Here is a sad local taleof three young men getting dissed at a party and returning with a gun then firing the gun into the assembled crowd. A random kid is hit in the head and dies.

You see this scenario repeated in lots of modern urban violence where guns are just discharged at random into crowds that may contain some people the attackers want to injure and lots of non-involved bystanders. Is this kind of randomized shooting unique to modern American gangs and gangster wannabees or was this done in the past as well?

In reading about the early to mid 20th Irish or Italian etc. gangs the shootings were generally (seemingly) quite specifically targeted. A bystander may have occasionally gotten shot by accident, but it was not because the perp was firing wildly into a crowd.

Is this behavior new or not?

I don’t have any stats, but I feel like this is a relatively new phenomenon (early 90s or later) that is a product of black gang culture. The earliest reference I can think of is a scene from Boyz in the Hood where some pissed off gang members fire an Uzi in the air and panic a crowd after getting “dissed”.

Happened in Sweden in 1994.

Some fucking assholes get denied access to a Stockholm night club, return with an assault rifle later that evening, randomly open fire into the entrance, killing one bouncer and three girls.

Oh and since you mention race and ethnicity such:

The shooter was either an ethnic Swede or maybe half-Swedish, half-Mallorcan. His main accomplice was Chilean. His other accomplice was either an ethnic Persian or maybe an ethnic Kurd, as was their get-away driver. The dude who helped hide them afterwards was from the Balkans somewhere.

Don’t know which of these people would, from an American perspective, count as “black” (if any) and which of them would count as “white” (if any). But certainly the shooting had nothing to do with “black gang culture.”

Astro refers to white gangs in his OP, not black. (Yes, the linked article is about black people.)

msmith537 mentioned “black gang culture” in post #2.

ETA: The OP mentioned the Italians and the Irish – if I’m not mistaken, neither group has, in the U.S., consistently been seen as (fully) “white.”

Thugs indiscriminately inflicting violence on whole crowds of people is not a new practice, I can tell you that:

](Bay View massacre - Wikipedia)

](An Eclectic List of Events in U.S. Labor History)[

](Ludlow Massacre - Wikipedia)

](Lattimer massacre - Wikipedia)

I can provide more historical examples if anyone is interested.

I think the OP was asking about criminals opening fire on crowds in a semi-random manner, not for a history of the labor movement.

Yes, and I was specifically referring to “African” black gang culture in the USA. Not other marginalized ethnic groups or Swedes. And not that these are organized gang attacks. But they seem like the work of punk-asses emulating something they might have seen on TV or playing Grand Theft Auto. Perhaps more akin to a mass shooting by some white nerd, but with less forethought.

Italian and Irish gangs in contrast typically formed as a defensive response against local government corruption and/or as an extension of grudges carried over from the old country. Often they would clamp down on local petty crime in order to not draw unwanted attention to their ongoing illegitimate organized operations (gambling, racketeering, prostitution, drugs, bootlegging, etc) and to gain local support.

And the OP was asking if the behavior is new or not. It is easy to see that it is not. A Google Books search with a restricted time frame is all one need to do to disabuse oneself of a belief to the contrary. The multiple results describing people firing into crowds, limited to the results that Google has indexed out of the limited events people have mentioned in books, tells me that this wasn’t a phenomenon invented by black people.

The cited history looked (quick scan) to be the thugs in the employ of either the company owners or the Government.
The Pinkertons were hired guns who shot whoever they were paid to shoot.

Don’t forget Ford in 1938 or so.

The not-paid-for-it shootings are the ones under discussion.

Whites tend to shoot individuals - Colorado High School, Sandy Hook, a couple of theaters - they seem about due for another shooting by copycats.

Random into a crowd seems to be a black thing.

I don’t understand.

When James Holmes fired into the audience in that theater in Aurora, how was that “shoot[ing] individuals” rather than shooting “random[ly] into a crowd”?

I have lost too many students due to exactly this type of shooting. IMO, it is because they so frequently fire guns as a dominance display with nobody actually getting hurt. “Shots fired” reports are far, far more common than reports of anybody actually shot. As a result, they lose respect for the fact that the gun is a lethal weapon and become far too willing to shoot over wounded feelings. When somebody does get killed, the reaction is surprised shock and it used to baffle me. What did you think would happen if you emptied a pistol into a bar/house/car/crowd? I guess if you see them fired off to no real effect often enough, it must seem a surprise when someone actually gets killed.

Missed the edit: In incidents like this one, the shooters are trying to make a “You can’t talk to me like that!” statement more than they are trying to kill anybody.

White v. State - Mississippi, 1934

Morgan v Mulhall - Missouri, 1908
This is a case in which a defendant tried to argue that while he did shoot a guy, he was charged with shooting into a crowd and the prosecution didn’t prove that there was a crowd or that he shot into it.


The Flaming Circle was a group that opposed the KKK.

How long did you spend coming up with 3 cites across 26 years?

People in a theater are sitting individually, not in mass. See the difference?

If you wait until the show is over and there is a crowd around the exit, you would be shooting at a group.

I can’t agree with your perspective at all here. Seated in a theater is the same as standing in a theater or walking on a street,IMO. If only specific individuals within the theater (sitting or standing, still or moving) were targeted for reason (even shitty reason like “wearing a barrette”) that would be at least somewhat targeted and individual. But sitting vs standing - not seeing the distinction.

Five minutes, tops. It’s remarkably easy to find old examples of Americans firing into crowds. How many citations would be enough for you? With the one I provided earlier I’m up to four. I had several others I didn’t use, including some that predate modern gang culture where the shooter was black.

That’s an incredibly fine hair your trying to split. I’m sure if you work at it, you can find some way to exclude any shooting you want from however you’re defining a random shooting into a crowd. It’ll probably take longer than five minutes, though.

I have the joke about 80s/90s stand-up routines going through my head:
“Did you ever notice that white people shoot at crowds like this… And black people shoot at crowds like this?”

I was expecting this to be about two teenage girls