Other Murders/Murder-Suicides Committed by Individuals on Psychiatric Drugs


School-related acts of violence aren’t the only cases commonly found to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs. There have been 42 acts of senseless violence committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 384 dead and 754 wounded.:

    1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana – January 26, 2019: Dakota Theriot, 21, is accused of killing five people in Louisiana on January 26th, 2019, using a handgun stolen from his father. The victims include his parents and three members of a family with whom he’d been living for a short time. Investigators said he smoked weed and drank alcohol that mixed poorly with the antipsychotic drugs he’d been prescribed. His wife had told police he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
    2. Providence, Massachusetts – December 17, 2018: Andrew Soto-Bonnett, 27, stabbed his mother a dozen times in her head, neck, and face, and stabbed her husband six times in his upper body and torso. Luckily, they both survived. Soto-Bonnett told police he was schizophrenic but that he takes his “medication.”
    3. Phoenix, Arizona – July 25, 2018: Isaac Damon King, 20, suspected of throwing objects at cars, fatally shot Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Tyler Edenhofer (24) and wounded another trooper. King had no criminal history but did have a mental health history and was on “medication for anxiety and depression.”
    4. Melbourne, Australia – July 7, 2018: Daniel Eckersley, 39, a Melbourne, Australia man, stabbed his partner, Amanda Harris, to death in front of their young children before setting fire to their family home. Prosecutor Brendan Kissane said Eckersley had sought medical assistance for depression in the week before the murder and began taking antidepressants on top of pain medication he was abusing.
    5. Westminster, Colorado – June 14, 2018: Jeremy Webster, 23, killed a 13-year-old and injured the boy’s mother and brother in a road rage shooting. A man in another car was also shot. Webster is accused of shooting the mother multiple times and then shooting Vaughn Bigelow Jr. “execution-style” and then driving away. Webster has a psychiatric history and had changed medication that day. Webster had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had been prescribed an antidepressant and an antipsychotic.
    6. Wadsworth, Ohio – April 6, 2018: Gavon Ramsay, 17, strangled his neighbor, 98-year-old Margaret Douglas in her own home. His parents blame his actions on his having been misprescribed Zoloft. After a report by his school principal that the teen was depressed and might harm himself, he “returned to therapy,” and after a recommendation by a psychologist, the family’s pediatrician prescribed the antidepressant Zoloft. From January through March leading up to the incident, the dosages were increased. During this time, his mother said she observed her son’s behavior change—becoming increasingly irritable and hostile and saying bizarre things.
    7. Walsall, United Kingdom – February 28, 2018: Gregory Irvin, 26, was accused of murdering his 74-year-old grandmother on February 28, by stabbing her to death and slitting her throat. His girlfriend told a jury that he stopped taking medication for his anxiety five days before the murder. She said his anxiety medication made Irvin feel “a bit withdrawn” and that taking a break from the tablets made Irvin feel “less shy, more confident.” A medical examination revealed he had taken cocaine the day before. Irvin told police he took cocaine three or four times a week “as a relief from problems he could not cope with.”
    8. Sutherland Springs, Texas – November 5, 2017: Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire during church services on the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and injuring 20 more, with victims ranging in age from 18 months to 77 years old. He was later found dead in a vehicle after he was shot and chased by two men who heard the gunfire at the church. The autopsy released by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office reported that Kelley died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The autopsy also reported that toxicology tests detected marijuana and anti-anxiety drugs in his system.
    9. Las Vegas, Nevada – October 1, 2017: Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, opened fire on thousands of concertgoers on the Las Vegas Strip, from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He killed 58 and wounded 546 before taking his own life. According to the autopsy report, Paddock had an anti-anxiety drug in his system at the time of the shooting.
    10. Quebec City, Canada – January 28, 2017: Alexandre Bissonnette, age 27, walked in to a Quebec City mosque and opened fire into a crowd of men, women and children during evening prayers, killing six Muslim men and wounding 18. His mother told police that his doctor had recently given him a new prescription for the antidepressant paroxetine (Paxil) and that he was very “anxious and unstable” in the week before the shooting. When he pleaded guilty in 2018, he did not explain why he targeted the mosque but said he had “suicidal thoughts” and an “obsession” with death and said he was “not a terrorist, nor an Islamophobe.”
    11. Northern Territory, Australia – November 30, 2016: Pande Valeski, 37, stabbed a backpacker 20 times with a pair of scissors while the victim and his wife were at a rest stop 100k away from Alice Springs. Veleski had stopped taking his antipsychotic medication in the days leading up to the killing, and left his home in Melbourne to start driving to the Northern Territory where he intended to engage in a “civil war.”
    12. Sydney, Australia – October 2, 2016: Daniel Chapman, 22, stabbed his father in the back with a 14 centimeter blade knife, killing him. Mr. Chapman died from a loss of blood on the way to hospital. Daniel had been on the antidepressant Prozac, but had stopped taking it around two weeks before the incident.
    13. Burlington, Washington – September 23, 2016: 20-year-old Arcan Cetin opened fire in a Macy’s department store at the Cascade Mall, killing 5 people. Cetin had seen at least four mental-health treatment providers in his life and was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital in November 2015 after a suicide attempt. He was on three different psychiatric drugs—the antidepressant Prozac and ADHD drugs Concerta and guanfacine—as of 2015. Additionally, records obtained by investigators from an NBC affiliate in Washington found that he had been diagnosed with autism, depression and ADHD, and had been receiving drugs “like Prozac” in the months before the shooting.
    14. Munich, Germany – July 22, 2016: 18-year-old Ali David Sonboly shot and killed 9 people, injured 27 others, then killed himself. According to CNN, he had a history of psychiatric care at a hospital for two months in 2015 and was suffering from depression and anxiety. The Guardian reported that after leaving the hospital, Sonboly “continued to receive outpatient treatment for social anxiety disorder and depression for which he was receiving medication.”
    15. Baton Rouge, Louisiana – July 17, 2016: Former Marine Gavin Long, age 29, went on a shooting rampage, killing three law officers and wounding three others before being shot dead by a SWAT team officer. He told friends he had post-traumatic stress disorder. CNN reported that Long had filled a prescription for Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug, as recently as June, and also had prescriptions for Valium (also an anti-anxiety drug) and the sleep aid Lunesta.
    16. Liverpool, United Kingdom – May 30, 2016: Sami Salem, 30, suffocated his wife and drowned their two kids. His brother, Nabeel Salem, told the jury that Sami Salem had been “acting paranoid” for weeks and he had taken him to see a mental health crisis team in the Royal Liverpool Hospital only 10 days before the killings. Nabeel said his brother was prescribed the anti-anxiety drug, diazepam, and discharged, with the promise of home visits and a referral to his doctor.
    17. Southern France – March 24, 2015: According to medical records, Andreas Lubitz, the pilot who deliberately crashed a Germanwings plane in a remote, mountainous area of Southern France killing all 150 people on board, was on medications for depression, anxiety and panic attacks, including lorazepam and an antidepressant. Lubitz had increased the dosage of antidepressants prescribed to him to twice the amount and also reportedly blamed the drug for loss of sleep and panic attacks. He also spent a year and a half in “psychiatric treatment” six years prior to the crash.
    18. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania – December 15, 2014: Iraq War veteran Bradley Stone, 35, killed his ex-wife plus her mother, grandmother and sister, and the sister’s husband and 14-year-old daughter and then committed suicide. According to the Medical Examiner, he had both the antidepressant trazodone and the antipsychotic risperidone in his system at the time of his death. Just one week prior to the murders, he had seen his Veterans Affairs psychiatrist, whose evaluation stated Stone had no suicidal or homicidal ideation.
    19. Santa Barbara, California – May 23, 2014: 22-year old Elliot Rodger stabbed three roommates to death at his apartment then drove to a sorority house where he shot three women, killing two of them. Driving again, he exchanged fire with deputies, hit a bicyclist, fired on other people in multiple locations and then killed himself having killed 6 and wounded 13 others. In his own 137-page document outlining his plans, he stated: “To end my life, I will quickly swallow all of the Xanax and Vicodin pills I have left…” He had also been seeing mental health professional for years.
    20. Fort Hood, TX – April 2, 2014: Specialist Ivan Lopez had been prescribed Ambien, antidepressants and other medications to treat anxiety and depression when opened fire at Fort Hood military base, killing three people, wounding 16 others and then taking his own life. He had also been examined by a psychiatrist within the month prior and was being evaluated for PTSD.
    21. Washington, DC – September 16, 2013: Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor, opened fire inside a building at the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and wounding eight others before he was killed by police. Alexis had received prescriptions from two Veterans Administration hospitals in August 2013 for the antidepressant Trazodone.
    22. West Palm Beach, FL – September 12, 2013: According to toxicology results, Pamela Brooks had a prescribed dosage of the antidepressant Prozac in her system when she killed her 10-year-old daughter by stabbing her more than 20 times and committed suicide by stabbing herself more than 150 times with a kitchen knife.
    23. Jackson County, MI – September 8, 2012: Michael Hamilton shot to death Robert Marcyan, attempted to kill Robert’s twin brother, Richard, and stole two cars to try to flee police. Robert was a handyman who had gone to the Hamilton house with his brother to fix some deck issues. Just months before the shooting, Michael’s daily dosage of Adderall had more than doubled.
    24. Aurora, CO – July 20, 2012: 24-year-old James Holmes entered a movie theater where about 420 people were watching a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 70. Officers found Holmes by his car behind the theater and arrested him. During court testimonies, his psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, said that she had prescribed Holmes the antidepressant sertraline and antianxiety drug clonazepam. In a recorded interview with Holmes, he was asked if the shootings would not have taken place if he hadn’t taken the prescribed drugs. Holmes answer was, “I’d say it was a possibility.”
    25. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012: 30-year-old John Shick, former patient of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and former student at nearby Duquesne University, shot and killed one and injured six inside UPMC’s Western Psychiatrist Institute. Nine antidepressants were identified among the drugs police found in Shick’s apartment.
    26. Fort Carson, CO – January 8, 2012: Sgt. Vincinte Jackson, 40, stabbed Spc. Brandy Fonteneaux 74 times before choking her to death. Jackson doesn’t know why he did it. Capt. Jeremy Horn, one of Jackson’s defense lawyers,said that a combination of heavy drinking and a prescription antidepressant, Celexa, left Jackson unable to control his own actions.
    27. El Cajon, California – January 16, 2012: An unidentified 10-year-old boy killed his best friend, 12-year-old Ryan Carter, by stabbing him to death with a kitchen knife. The boy’s mother said that about a month before the attack, he was prescribed the antidepressant Anaphranil. At this point, his personality changed and he became “much more aggressive.”
    28. Seal Beach, California – October 12, 2011: Scott DeKraai, a harbor tugboat worker, entered the hair salon where his ex-wife worked, killing her and seven others and injuring one. At DeKraai’s initial hearing, his attorney indicated to the judge that DeKraai was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone and the “mood stabilizer” Topamax.
    29. Afghanistan – October 17, 2010: Indiana soldier David Lawrence was taking the two antidepressants – Trazodone and Zoloft – when he killed a top Taliban commander by shooting him in the face in a prison cell. During questioning, David said he imagined all the people he knew being blown up and blacked out before the shooting.
    30. Newport, Maine – October 26, 2009: Perley Goodrich Jr. beat his mother and then shot his father dead shortly after being injected with Trazodone in a psychiatric hospital. Goodrich had complained that he didn’t want to take the medication because it made him feel “violent.”
    31. Lakeland, Florida – May 3, 2009: Toxicology test results showed that 34-year-old Troy Bellar was on Tegretol, a drug prescribed for “bi-polar disorder,” when he shot and killed his wife and two of his three children in their home before killing himself.
    32. Granberry Crossing, Alabama – April 26, 2009: 53-year-old Fred B. Davis shot and killed a police officer and wounded a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a call that Davis had threatened a neighbor with a gun. Prescription drug bottles found at the scene showed that Davis was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Geodon.
    33. Middletown, Maryland – April 17, 2009: Christopher Wood shot and killed his wife, three small children and himself inside their home. Toxicology test results verified that Wood had been taking the antidepressants Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Amitriptyline (Elavil) & Nortriptyline (Pamelor) and the anti-anxiety drugs Zolipdem (Ambien) & Alprazolam (Xanax).
    34. Carthage, North Carolina – March 29, 2009: Robert Kenneth Stewart killed eight people and wounded three others during a shooting rampage at a Carthage nursing home. He was under the influence of the antidepressant Lexapro and the sedatives Ambien and Xanax. Tests run on Stewart’s blood following the shooting showed he had 12 times the therapeutic dose of Ambien in his system. Two days before the shooting he attempted to see a doctor. The doctor wasn’t there, but a nurse prescribed Lexapro and Xanax. The day before the shooting, Stewart became agitated because of the antidepressants he was taking. Stewart’s attorney said Stewart’s problems with the anti-depressants prompted him to overdose on Ambien. His attorney also said, “Robert Stewart does not remember what happened on March 29, 2009, and he has never been able to tell anyone about it.”
    35. Concord, California – January 11, 2009: Jason Montes, 33, shot and killed his wife and then himself at home. Montes had earlier begun taking the antidepressant Prozac for depression related to his impending divorce and a recent bankruptcy.
    36. Little Rock, Arkansas – August 14, 2008: Less than 48 hours after Timothy Johnson shot and killed Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney, the Little Rock Police declared they were investigating shooter’s use of the antidepressant Effexor, which was found in Johnson’s house. A Little Rock city police report later stated that Johnson “was on an antidepressant and that the drug may have played a part in his ‘irrational and violent behavior.’”
    37. Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the anti-anxiety drug Valium.
    38. Fallujah, Iraq – December 31, 2006: Marine Lance Cpl. Delano Holmes killed Iraqi soldier Mutather Jasem Muhammed Hassin by stabbing him 40 times with a combat knife, with some of the wounds piercing his spine. Holmes had been prescribed Trazodone (an antidepressant), Ambien and Valium (both anti-anxiety drugs).
    39. North Meridian, Florida – July 8, 2003: Doug Williams killed five and wounded nine of his fellow Lockheed Martin employees before killing himself. Williams was reportedly taking two antidepressants, Zoloft and Celexa, for depression after a failed marriage.
    40. Wakefield, Massachusetts – December 26, 2000: 42-year-old computer technician Michael McDermott had been taking three antidepressants, Paxil, Prozac and Desyrel, when he hunted down employees with a shotgun and a rifle in the accounting and human resources offices where he worked, killing seven.
    41. Buffalo, New York – May 1, 1998: 37-year-old Juan Roman, an Erie County sheriff’s deputy, pursued his estranged wife into their children’s elementary school and shot her dead, and a school aide was hit in the elbow. Roman was taking antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist.
    42. St. Petersburg, FL – May 25, 1992: 30-year-old David Doyle Rittenhouse shot and killed a man that went on a date with his wife. Rittenhouse said he was taking a drug somewhat similar to the controversial drug Prozac, and that the drug impeded his perception abilities and he thought the man had raped his wife, though he said “He knows it didn’t happen that way – but he said that is what was in his mind.”