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In forensic psychiatry, the term pseudocommando has been used to describe mass murderers who commit premeditated murder-suicide mass killings driven by revenge fantasies,[1][2] typically involving the stockpiling of weapons followed by a heavily armed commando-style attack.[3][4]

They typically see their actions through a narcissistic lens as being morally justified in revenge against their unfair treatment by an uncaring world, and wish to "go out in a blaze of glory".[5]

Some observers have divided mass killers into three categories: pseudocommandos, family annihilators, and hit-and-run killers.[6][7]


  1. ^ Knoll Jl, 4. (2010). "The "pseudocommando" mass murde rer: Part I, the psychology of revenge and obliteration". The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 38 (1): 87–94. PMID 20305080. 
  2. ^ Knoll Jl, 4. (2010). "The "Pseudocommando" mass murderer: Part II, the language of revenge". The journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. 38 (2): 263–272. PMID 20542949. 
  3. ^ Joel Achenbach (July 26, 2012). "'Pseudo-commandos' defy explanation". The Journal Gazette. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  4. ^ Elaine Cassel (April 20, 2007). "The Tragedy at Virginia Tech: Cho Seung Hui and the Psychology of School Shooters". FindLaw. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  5. ^ James M. Knoll IV (January 4, 2012). "The "Pseudocommando" Mass Murderer: A Blaze of Vainglory". Psychiatric Times. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  6. ^ Dietz PE (1986). "Mass, serial and sensational homicides.". Bull N Y Acad Med. 62 (5): 477–91. PMC 1629267Freely accessible. PMID 3461857. 
  7. ^ Kocsis, Richard N. (2007). Criminal profiling international theory, research and practice. Totowa, N.J: Humana Press. p. 16. ISBN 1588296849.