25 Most Insane Shootouts in History

Posted by , Updated on October 22, 2017

Ever since people figured out how to propel bullets out of enclosed chambers using gun powder the face of armed conflict has been completely different. People no longer needed to be skilled with a bow or sword in order to take a life. They just had to have a functional index finger. For better or for worse (depending on who you ask) guns are not going anywhere and as a result we end up with lists like this one. These are the 25 most insane shootouts in history.

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Wounded Knee Massacre


The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, USA. It was the last battle of the American Indian Wars. On the morning of December 29 American troops entered a Lakota Indian camp to disarm the warriors. One version of events claims that a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it. A scuffle over Black Coyote’s rifle escalated and a shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry’s opening fire indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their own fellow troopers. Those few Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking troopers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed. By the time it was over, at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 wounded


The North Hollywood Shootout


Inspired by the epic shootout scene in the 1995 film, ‘Heat,’ Larry Philips and Emil Matasareanu attempted to rob the North Hollywood Bank of America on February 28, 1997. Heavily armed with fully automatic AK-47s, homemade body armor, and Phenobarbital to calm their nerves; they put on their ski masks and entered the bank at 9:17. The shootout between the robbers and the police took 44 minutes wherein 10 officers and 7 civilians were seriously wounded, though the two robbers were killed despite having outgunned the police forces.


Winnenden School Shooting


This tragic event occurred on March 11, 2009, which started at a secondary school, Baden-Württemberg followed by a shootout at a Volkswagen car dealership in nearby Wendlingen. The perpetrator was 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer, who took a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol from his parent’s bedroom. The shooting spree resulted in 16 civilian deaths, including the suicide of the perpetrator.


The Norco Bank Robbery


On May 9, 1980, five armed robbers stormed Norco, a California Security Bank where they took $20,000. However, they were spotted by a teller at a bank across the street and called for help. Armed with assault rifles, handguns, shotguns, pipe bombs, and hollow-point ammunition, they engaged Deputy Glyn Bolasky in a shootout where he sustained injuries on the face, forearms, left elbow and left shoulder. They were also involved in a car chase that destroyed 33 police cruisers and civilian cars, shot down a helicopter, killed another officer and injured two others. The robbers fled with one fatality, while another was killed in a shootout the next day, while the rest were later arrested.


Everett Massacre


Also known as Bloody Sunday, this was an armed confrontation between local Washington authorities headed by Snohomish County sheriff Donald McRae and 200 vigilantes or ‘citizen deputies’ against the 300 members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) union, also known as ‘Wobblies,’ on November 5, 1916. The confrontation happened at the dock of Everett when a single shot was fired followed by 10 minutes of intense gunfire, which resulted in the death of McRae and 2 citizen deputies while injuring about 30 others.


The Blair House Shootout

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Considered the “boldest attempt at home invasion in modern history,” this was an assassination attempt on the life of then-US President Harry S. Truman on November 1, 1950. Two Puerto Rican nationalists, Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo entered the Blair House armed only with a handgun each. They opened fire on the guards of the Blair House for 40 seconds when President Truman was wakened from his nap in the upstairs bedroom. Collazo, who sustained gun wounds recovered and was taken to prison, while Torresola succumbed to his wounds after being shot point blank in the head.


Lokhandwala Complex Shootout


The gun battle that took place on November 16, 1991 at the Lokhandwala Complex in Bombay was between seven gangsters led by Maya Dolas and the members of the Mumbai police. The four-hour long shootout was all caught on video tape and conducted in full view of the public, which concluded with the death of all the seven gangsters including Maya Dolas.


The FBI Miami Shootout

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The most astounding feat of physical stamina in history occurred in a fight that lasted for 4 minutes between FBI agents and two career robbers, William Matix and Michael Platt on April 11, 1986 in Miami, Florida. Matix, an ex-Army MP, and Platt, an ex-Army Special Forces, were armed with a Ruger Mini-14 5.56mm, two S&W .357 magnums and a shotgun, but were outnumbered by the FBI agents 4 to 1. However, they still outgunned the FBIs who were firing 9mms. The shootout saw 145 shots fired that killed 2 agents and the 2 suspects, where Matix was shot 6 times while Platt sustained 12 gunshot wounds.


Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

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The most famous gunfight in the history of the American Old West happened on October 26, 1881 in Tombstone, Arizona Territory between the outlaw Cowboys Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and his brother Frank against the opposing lawmen Virgil Earp and his brothers Morgan and Wyatt Earp. It lasted for 30 seconds and only Wyatt Earp came out unscathed although the parties were standing only 6 feet apart.


The Austin Tower Sniper

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One of the most indelible mass shooting in US history occurred on August 1, 1966 when Charles Whitman, an ex-Marine who had qualified as a sharpshooter, barricaded himself in the Tower on the University of Texas in Austin. For 96 minutes, he opened fire on innocent bystanders after killing his mother and wife and three others on his way to the Tower stairs. Armed with a scoped Remington 6mm deer rifle, a sawn-off 12-ga pump shotgun and a 9mm Luger he indiscriminately killed 11 civilians and injured 32 more, including a pregnant woman whom he shot in the stomach in a deliberate attempt to kill the fetus. It was later found out that Whitman had a brain tumor which may have cause him to snap.


Brink’s Robbery


This was an armed robbery committed on October 20, 1981 and carried out by the Black Liberation Army where they took off with $1.6 million from a Brink’s armored car at the Nanuet Mall in New York City. The heist resulted in a shootout that killed two police officers and a Brink’s guard.


The Battle of Barrington

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On November 27, 1934, George “Babyface” Nelson was driving through Barrington, IL, a suburb in Chicago with his wife and his friend John Chase when they spotted a car of FBI agents passing the other way. They both recognized each other and Nelson swung his car around as he and Chase fired at the fleeing FBI agents. The FBI fired back and disabled Nelson’s car, which drove into a small field. During the ensuing firefight Herman Hollis, an FBI agent who killed Pretty Boy Floyd a month earlier was hit several times in the head, while Nelson was hit 9 times. Chase was captured and sent to Alcatraz.


Shootout at Wilson Ranch


The final and most famous hanging in the history of Tombstone, Arizona occurred due to a shootout on April 7, 1899 when two brothers, William and Thomas Lee Halderman were confronted by two lawmen in a ranch off the Chiricahua Mountains. During the brief gunfight Constable Chester L. Ainsworth was killed, while his deputy, Teddy Moore, was mortally wounded. The brothers fled to New Mexico but were later captured and hung on November 16, 1900.


The Newhall Shootout


The Newhall massacre was considered the deadliest in California law enforcement history. Two heavily armed criminals engaged the California Highway Patrol in a shootout on April 6, 1970. At approximately 11:55pm, CHP rookie officers Walt Frago and Roger Gore stopped Bobby Davis and Jack Twinning in conjunction with an incident that was earlier reported. The incident that ensued after less than 5 minutes and resulted in the death of four CHP officers as they exchanged fire with the criminals.


New Jersey Turnpike Shootout


The shootout occurred on May 2, 1973 when Assata Shakur, an escaped convict member of the Black Panther Party ,along with several friends, was stopped by state trooper James Harper for driving with a broken taillight on the New Jersey Turnpike in East Brunswick. At that time, Shakur was accused of several crimes and made the subject of a multi-state manhunt. The confrontation resulted in a shootout that killed one state trooper and several of the Panthers. Shakur managed to escape but was later captured.


The Marin County Courthouse Shootout


In an attempt to free his brother 17-year-old Jonathan Jackson walked right into the courthouse in Marin County, California on August 7, 1970 with an arsenal of weapons. He stormed into a trial where he armed defendant James Mclain, who was on trial for murdering a prison guard, and two fellow convicts William Christmas and Ruchell Magee, who were testifying as witnesses. The four men then took the judge, a district attorney and three jurors as hostages and marched them out of the courthouse into a waiting getaway van. A shootout ensued between the suspects and the Marin County Sheriffs deputies while they were fleeing, which resulted in the death of Jackson, judge Harold Haley, McClain and Christmas and injured the DA and one of the jurors, while Magee was severely wounded but was later sentenced to life in prison.


The Battle of Stone Corral

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The final shootout during the pursuit of the Sontag-Evans Gang occurred on June 1893 after months of searching and several previous encounters. A small posse led by Marshal George E. Gard was able to ambushed John Sontag and Chris Evans at a corral near Visalia, California where both of the outlaws were severely wounded. Sontag died three days later while in police custody; while Evans managed to escape though he lost an eye and his left arm. He was eventually captured though.


The MOVE Shootout

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On May 13, 1985 the Philadelphia Police Department stormed the headquarters of the activist group known as MOVE armed with tear gas while the Fire Dept. hosed them down water cannons. However, a burst of gunfire erupted where the police responded with thousands of rounds of small arms fire for 90 minutes. They also dropped a 4-pound bomb of C-4 and Tovex on the roof which started a fire that consumed 62 houses; wherein 11 members of the MOVE died and only 2 survived. The PPD was eventually sued and forced to pay $1.5 million to a survivor and relatives for using excessive force and unlawful search and seizure.


The Nuevo Laredo Shootout

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On August 1, 2003 at around 3am, a shootout ensued between the Mexican Federal Investigation Agency (AFI) and a group of armed men believed to be members of the drug cartel Los Negros in the streets of Nuevo Laredo across the US-Mexico border from Loredo, Texas. Members of the AFI were staying at a nearby hotel when the attorney general of the city, Juan Manuel Muñoz called for help that he was being chased by several individuals in a dark-colored truck. The AFI followed the truck with seven of their vehicles and a shootout between the police officers and alleged drug traffickers ensued for 40 minutes.


The Spiritwood Incident

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The incident happened on July 7, 2006 in a community of 1000 people in Spiritwood, Canada and ended near Mildred, nearly 27 kilometers away. Constables Robin Cameron and Marc Bourdages of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were both shot in the head through their cruiser’s windshield after a 30 km car chase and shootout with Curtis Dagenais after responding to a home complaint.


The Aramoana Massacre

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After the shooting rampage that killed 13 people including a police officer in a small seaside town of Aramoana, New Zealand; members of the Special Tactics Group surrounded the house where the shooter, David Malcolm Gray was hiding on November 14, 1990. A gun battle ensued after the failed attempts to lure him out until Gray eventually ran out of the house, firing his rifle from the hip before being struck down. He died on his way to the hospital.


Manila Hostage Crisis


On August 23, 2010, relieved police officer Rolando Mendoza boarded a bus filled with Hong Kong tourists in Rizal Park, Manila Philippines and took everyone hostage. After freeing 4 children, senior citizens and a woman with a disability, a gun battle ensued when he was enraged with what he saw on the on-board TV broadcast showing the arrest of his brother. It took 12 hours for the SWAT team to kill Mendoza with a sniper. When the dust had settled 8 people were dead and 7 were wounded.


Acacia Hills Shootout


Rodney Ansell was an Australian bushman who became the inspiration for the “Crocodile Dundee” films. However, on August 3, 1999, he ambushed several police officers at a roadblock intersection and fatally killed one of the officers near the Acacia Hills, Northern Territory Australia. Ansell was killed in a gun fight that followed as more officers arrived on the scene.


Bonnot Gang

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When three police officers confronted anarchist Jules Bonnot in an apartment on April 24, 1912; he opened fire killing the vice-chief of the Surete Nationale before fleeing across adjacent rooftops. This has made him France’s most wanted criminal with a reward of 100,000 francs. On April 28, he was cornered in a Paris suburb and the shootout ended with the police bombing the building where Bonnot was taking cover.


Mayerthorpe Incident


The worst one-day loss of life for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 100 years occurred on March 3, 2005 as the officers were executing a property seizure on the farm of James Roszko, near the Town of Mayerthorpe in Alberta, Canada. Armed with Heckler & Koch 91, Roszko killed RCMP Constables Peter Schiemann, Lionide Johnston, Anthony Gordon, and Brock Myrol after engaging them in a shootout where he also committed suicide after being wounded.

SEE ALSO: 25 Greatest Unsolved Mysteries Ever »

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