Most Church Shootings Happen At Baptist Places Of Worship
Only seven percent of church shootings happen at Methodist places of worship
The shooter who killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday targeted a Methodist church–but most shootings and other deadly incidents at U.S. churches over the past 16 years have taken place at Baptist places of worship.
Baptist churches accounted for almost 23 percent or 219 of all shootings, stabbings, beatings and similar attacks between 1999 and February 2015, followed by non-denominational institutions, including those of unknown religious affiliation, with 22 percent, and Catholic, at nearly 15 percent. Wednesday’s shooting took place at an African Methodist Episcopal Church, which falls under the Methodist denomination, accounting for just seven percent of attacks.
The suspected 21-year-old killer Dylann Roof shot dead nine people inside the church as the group took part in a bible study, but around two-thirds of reported attacks between 1999 and 2015 have taken place outside of church operating hours, and 70 percent of attacks occurred outdoors. Almost 30 percent of church shootings have taken place due to personal conflict, 10 percent due to mental illness and six percent actively targeting the church’s religion. The suspect’s motive is not yet known.
The data from Colorado-based security consultant Carl Chinn does state that Roof, if charged with the crime, is pretty typical of church shooters: In the last 16 years, 92 percent were male, 73 percent acted alone and 58 percent used a gun. Chinn’s data also shows a surge in the rate of church attacks, dropping to as few as six in 2000, to a record 176 last year.