Palm Sunday massacre (homicide)

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Palm Sunday massacre
Location1080 Liberty Avenue
East New York, Brooklyn, New York, United States[1]
Coordinates40°40′42″N 73°52′10″W / 40.678203°N 73.869449°W / 40.678203; -73.869449Coordinates: 40°40′42″N 73°52′10″W / 40.678203°N 73.869449°W / 40.678203; -73.869449
DateApril 15, 1984
Attack type
Mass shooting, mass murder, home invasion
WeaponsTwo handguns (.22-caliber pistol, .38-caliber revolver)[2]
PerpetratorChristopher Thomas
ConvictionsManslaughter (1st degree), Criminal possession (of a handgun) second degree

The Palm Sunday massacre was a 1984 mass-murder in Brooklyn, New York, that resulted in the deaths of ten people: three women, a teenage girl, and six children. There was one survivor, an infant girl.[3]

All of the victims were shot, with a total of 19 bullets fired from two handguns at close range, most in the head, and were found in relaxed poses sitting in couches and chairs, suggesting that they had been taken by surprise. There were no signs of drugs or robbery at the scene, but the home was owned by the husband of one of the victims; he was a convicted cocaine dealer.[4] In 1985, Christopher Thomas was convicted on ten counts of manslaughter, but was cleared of murder charges. The jury had convicted him of intentional murder, but the charges were reduced due to "extreme emotional disturbance". Prosecutors said that the motive was jealousy.[5][6][7][8][9] Thomas was sentenced to from 83 to 250 years, but due to state law was expected to spend no more than 50 years in prison.[10] He ended up serving just over 32 years before being released in 2018, having served two thirds of the maximum fifty years allowed by New York State.[11]

The sole survivor, an infant female, was raised by her grandmother. Joanna Jaffe, at the time a "beat cop" and by 2014 the highest ranking female officer in the New York City Police Department, was assigned to the infant girl, and stayed in contact with her as she grew up. The girl lived with Jaffe starting at age 14. In 2014, after the death of the girl's grandmother, Jaffe adopted her at the age of 31.[12][13][14]


  1. ^ "The Courtroom Sketches of Ida Libby Dengrove - Palm Sunday Massacre". University of Virginia Law School Archives. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Man Convicted of Manslaughter In Slayings of 10 Women and Children". AP News. 19 July 1985. Retrieved 19 July 1985. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  3. ^ "10 IN BROOKLYN ARE FOUND SLAIN INSIDE A HOUSE". The New York Times. 16 April 1984. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Man Guilty of Manslaughter in Massacre". latimes. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  5. ^ "DRUG LINK IS SEEN IN SLAYINGS OF 10". New York Times. 17 April 1984. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  6. ^ "3 KEY CLUES LED TO SUSPECT IN MASS MURDERS". New York Times. 21 June 1984. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  7. ^ "DEFENDANT IN THE KILLING OF 10 IS GUILTY OF REDUCED CHARGE". New York Times. 20 July 1985. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Killer In Massacre Convicted". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  9. ^ "MASS SLAYINGS AND TOLL: MCDONALD'S CASE BIGGEST". The New York Times. 25 April 1987. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  10. ^ "'Palm Sunday Massacre' Triggerman Could Be Out in 50 Years". Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  11. ^ Goldstein, Joseph (30 March 2018). "Man Who Killed 10 People in 1984 'Palm Sunday Massacre' Is Released From Prison". Retrieved 15 January 2019 – via
  12. ^ "The Toddler Who Survived, and the Cop Who Became Her Mom". The New York Times. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Mother and daughter at last: The decorated NYPD officer pictured with the sole survivor of horrific Palm Sunday Massacre she adopted 30 years later". Mail Online. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
  14. ^ "How cop came to adopt massacre survivor nearly 30 years later". New York Post. 13 April 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2016.