A seemingly random, mass stabbing like what happened across Taunton on Tuesday evening is exceedingly rare, according to data gathered on mass killings across the United States.
From 2006 to today, there have been just 37 mass killings — meaning four or more victims as defined by the FBI — that involved a knife, according to data gathered by USA Today in a first-of-its-kind tracking of mass killings. That’s just 12 percent of the 308 mass killings tracked by the newspaper, which relied on data from the FBI, local police departments and media reports. Most were committed with firearms.
In the Taunton attacks, two people were killed and two others were seriously injured before an off-duty sheriff’s deputy shot and killed the suspect, meaning the violence there wouldn’t fall under the criteria USA Today used. But the newspaper’s data gives a window into how rarely mass stabbings — rather than shootings — happen in the United States.
Even less common are random attacks, like in Taunton. Of the 37 mass stabbings tracked by USA Today, all but four were classified as a family killings or those tied to a robbery or burglary. Only one, a daylong string of carjackings and stabbings in New York City in February 2011 occurred in a public place.
Explore USA Today’s data on all mass killings here.