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Howard Unruh

AKA Howard Barton Unruh

Born: 21-Jan-1921
Birthplace: Camden, NJ
Died: 19-Oct-2009
Location of death: Trenton, NJ
Cause of death: Illness

Gender: Male
Religion: Lutheran [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Matter of Dispute
Occupation: Criminal

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Spree killer, 13 dead in 1949

Military service: US Army (1942-45)

Seemingly a good soldier, Howard Unruh served in the 342nd Armored Field Artillery, sometimes as tank gunner, where he took extensive notes of the killings his unit participated in. His brother Robert, though, claimed that Unruh had returned a different man, very much changed by the wartime experience. He collected guns and constructed a firing range in the family's basement. Unruh secretly kept notes on those whom he considered had wronged him, contemplating retaliation. After a yard gate he had built was stolen by neighbor youths, on 6 September 1949 he took a Luger P08 and walked along the 3200 block of River Road, Camden, looking for those on his list but also killing some that came in his way. At the end, 13 lay dead, including children aged two, six, and nine. Injured in the leg by a shopkeeper, he surrendered after being gassed in his home by police. Unruh was found insane, and spent the rest of his life in an asylum. Erroneously, the spree is sometimes referred to as the largest mass killing in the United States at that time, but in 1927, disgruntled tax protester Andrew Kehoe set off three explosions at the Bath Consolidated School in Michigan, leaving a death toll of 45, largely children.


[1] St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Camden, NJ.

Mother: Rita
Brother: James

    High School: Woodrow Wilson High School, Camden, NJ (1939)
    University:
Pharmacy, Temple University (attended, 1948)

    Murder 6-Sep-1949 (thirteen dead, committed to asylum)
    Institutionalized
    Bronze Star (twice)



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