Drive-by shooting

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A drive-by shooting is a type of assault that usually involves the perpetrator firing a weapon from within a motor vehicle and then fleeing.[1] Drive-by shootings allow the perpetrator(s) to quickly strike their target and flee the scene before law enforcement is able to respond.

Historical conception[edit]

Nestor Makhno (pictured in 1918) is attributed with inventing the tactics of drive-by shooting using horses, way before motor vehicles became common

The invention of drive by shooting is attributed to Nestor Makhno[2][3][4][5][6][7], commander of the Revolutionary Insurrection Army of Ukraine at the beginning of the 20th century. He combined horse and carriage with a machine gun in order to quickly assault targets and get away before they could properly react.


Motorcycle ride-by killings were a common form of murder used by drug lord Griselda Blanco during her years controlling the Miami cocaine trade routes in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[8] Blanco herself died by this method after having been shot twice in the head by a motorcyclist in a drive-by shooting in Medellín, Colombia.[9][10][11] Drive-by shootings are also included in the Ku Klux Klan's modus operandi.[12][13]

Such shootings are associated with gang violence in urban areas of the United States but also occur in other contexts and other countries. The tactic is also called simply a "drive-by".[14] The primary motivations for a gang-involved drive-by include intimidation, terrorization, and assassination of rival street gang members.[15] Numerous hip hop artists have been targeted in drive-bys;[16] prominent rappers who were killed in such incidents include Tupac Shakur,[17] The Notorious B.I.G.,[18] Big L, Smoke Dawg, and Mac Dre.[19]

In 2015, however, Jorja Leap, an UCLA anthropologist studying gang culture, pointed out how drive-by shooting tactics are being replaced by the "walk-up shooting" method, because murders have become more targeted and while driving there's low accuracy in aiming.[20]


In Italy the circulation of firearms is low, and just over a million civilians own a firearm license,[21] so face-to-face shooting or threats with firearms are rare. Drive-by shooting is then common especially in professional criminal context as the statistical incidence says that almost all assaults with firearms are carried out with a running car or moped—this kind of vehicle is used for reasons of better mobility in the narrow city districts. As a matter of fact from the 1970s into the 21st century, the Camorra have been known for performing drive-by shootings during clan or gang wars, or to execute targeted murders.[22]

One of the most striking episodes of drive-by shooting and terrorism, in Italy, was the 2018 Macerata attack, conducted against 6 African people by an Italian far-right member, Luca Traini, using an Alfa Romeo 147 which however failed and caused no deaths.[23]

Other contexts[edit]

In the first decade of the 21st century, drive-by shootings were also used by militants in Iraq, including the assassinations of Waldemar Milewicz[24] and Hatem Kamil.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hutson, H. Range; Anglin, Deirdre; Pratts, Michael J. Jr. (3 February 1994). "Adolescents and Children Injured or Killed in Drive-By Shootings in Los Angeles". New England Journal of Medicine. 330 (5): 324–327. doi:10.1056/NEJM199402033300506. PMID 8277953.
  2. ^ William Henry Chamberlin, Russia's Iron Age, Ayer Publishing, 1970, p201; V. Rapoport, Y. Alekseev, V. G. Treml (translated by B. Adams)
  3. ^ High Treason: Essays on the History of the Red Army, 1918–1938, Duke University Press, 1985, p68
  4. ^ Michael Malet, Nestor Makhno in the Russian Civil War, Macmillan, 1982, p85
  5. ^ Steve Zaloga, Leland S. Ness, Red Army Handbook, 1939–45, Sutton, 1998, p105
  6. ^ Leon Trotsky, How the Revolution Armed: The Military Writings and Speeches of Leon Trotsky, New Park Publications, 1981, p 295
  7. ^ Edward R. Kantowicz, The Rage of Nations: The World In The Twentieth Century, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1999, p173
  8. ^ Corben, Billy (4 September 2012). "Griselda Blanco: So Long and Thanks for All the Cocaine". Vice. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  9. ^ Luscombe, Richard (4 September 2012). "'Godmother of cocaine' shot dead in Colombia". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  10. ^ Robles, Frances & Bargent, James (5 September 2012). "The life and death of 'cocaine godmother' Griselda Blanco". The Miami Herald.
  11. ^ Luscombe, Richard (4 September 2012). "'Godmother of cocaine' shot dead in Colombia (Griselda Blanco, who remained under suspicion for the deaths of all three of her husbands)". The Guardian.
  12. ^ Fontaine, Smokey (2009). "GOOD NEWS: Victim Of KKK and Drive-By Shooting Opens Successful Restaurant". NewsOne. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  13. ^ Hamilton, Matt (28 February 2016). "Mother and son are killed in a drive-by shooting outside a Carson home". Los Angeles Times.
  14. ^ "3-year-old boy killed in drive-by shooting identified". Cleveland, Ohio: WKYC-TV. 16 September 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  15. ^ Hutson, H. Range; Anglin, Deirdre; Kyriacou, Demetrios N. (4 October 1995). "The Epidemic of Gang-Related Homicides in Los Angeles County From 1979 Through 1994". New England Journal of Medicine. 274 (13): 1031. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130037025.
  16. ^ Coleman, C. Vernon II (1 February 2013). "They Shootin': 10 Rappers That Were Targeted in Drive-By Shootings". HipHopWired. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  17. ^ Dominguez, Robert (14 September 1996). "Tupac Shakur dies days after drive-by shooting in 1996". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 11 December 2015. Rapper Tupac Shakur died yesterday from wounds suffered in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting, becoming a casualty of the kind of bullet-sprayed urban violence captured in his lyrics.
  18. ^ Millner, Denene (10 March 1997). "Biggie Smalls is killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997". Daily News. New York. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Rapper Mac Dre Killed in Kansas City". Billboard. 2 November 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2015.
  20. ^ "A shift in gang tactics means drive-bys are giving way to walk-ups, observers say". Los Angeles Times. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Quante armi ci sono in Italia? (How many firearms are there in Italy?)". La Stampa (in Italian). 6 February 2018. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  22. ^ Ambrose, Tom (2008). The Nature of Despotism. New Holland. ISBN 9781847730701.
  23. ^ "Macerata, spari da auto in corsa, sei feriti: sono tutti di colore. Una vendetta per Pamela: bloccato un uomo avvolto nel tricolore (Macerata, drive-by shooting, six wounded: all black people. Revenge for Pamela: a man wrapped in the Italian flag arrested". Il Messaggero (in Italian). 3 February 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  24. ^ "Top Baghdad official shot dead: Aftermath of attack on Baghdad deputy governor: Attackers rammed the deputy governor's car and shot him dead (Gunmen have assassinated the deputy governor of Baghdad and wounded two of his bodyguards, Iraqi officials say)". BBC News. 7 May 2004. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
  25. ^ "Polish TV crew attacked in Iraq: Waldemar Milewicz was a well-known war correspondent (Gunmen in Iraq have killed a leading Polish journalist and his picture editor in a drive-by shooting)". BBC News. 1 November 2004. Retrieved 10 August 2012.

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