chapter  Chapter 4
16 Pages

Deadly Desperation

ByMark Safarik, Katherine Ramsland

This category is as close as we come to killers who seem to snap. A sense of “nothing to lose” seems to fuel their rush, which is often irrational and suicidal. Generally, police know their identity. Some have (or claim to have) a mental illness, but what drives them is the sense that they must keep moving until they are stopped, or they end it. Their victims are more often random than targeted, although some have killed a family member or someone against whom they have a grudge, which precipitates their spree. They know that they have no recourse. Of the cases in this category, one in three killed or attempted to kill themselves to end the spree. Desperate killers often target people with modes of transportation they can steal, but theft is not their primary motivator. Aware that law enforcement will be searching for them, they often move from one vehicle to another in order to stay ahead of their pursuers. Needing resources, they might invade homes or commit armed robberies, often adding to their killing toll.