Category: Spree Killing
Location: Camden, New Jersey
Date: September 6, 1949
Crime: Armed with a Luger P08 pistol, in an apparent retaliation for some minor property damage, randomly shot at and killed 13 people, injuring 3 others in his hometown. After a long standoff with police, surrendered into custody.
Biography: Howard Unruh was a decorated World War II veteran who lived with his mother in Camden, New Jersey after coming home from the war. He was a very quiet man, described as shy and reserved, who had trouble making friends and getting along with his neighbors. He appeared to be having a challenging time of deciding what he wanted to do after his military life. He briefly attended college, but dropped out after a few months. Tensions in the neighborhood began to increase and Unruh became the victim of ridicule from local teens who mocked him as 'being gay' and a 'mama's boy'. Unruh became reclusive and investigators found in his bedroom, a detailed notebook which contained detailed about every perceived transgression against him, both real and imagined. Many of the entries had the note, 'retal.' after them, apparently indicating retaliation against that transgressor. On the morning of the attack, he dressed in his best suit and set out to track down and shoot those that he had identified. He shot and killed many of his intended victims, but others were able to hide and avoid the attack. After his arrest, Unruh was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and to this day resides in a Psychiatric Hospital in Trenton, New Jersey.