August 17, 1991 |
c. 3:30 p.m.–3:40 p.m. (GMT+10)
|Spree shooting, massacre, mass murder, murder–suicide|
|Deaths||8 (including the perpetrator)|
|Perpetrator||Wade John Frankum|
The Strathfield massacre was a shooting rampage at a shopping mall in Strathfield, Sydney, Australia, on 17 August 1991. The shooter was Wade Frankum, who killed himself as police arrived at the scene. The incident left eight dead and six wounded.
Wade Frankum was born in 1958 and had worked at various occupations including as a retail assistant. In the apartment where Frankum lived alone, police found a large collection of violent literature and video copies of violent films. One of his books was a well-thumbed copy of American Psycho and although there is no direct evidence that the controversial novel had inspired Frankum, a number of suggestions that it had done so were made in newspapers. Frankum also owned a copy of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Investigators suggested that both his reading and viewing habits contributed to this motivation for the shooting.
At around 1:00 p.m., 33-year-old Frankum went to Strathfield Plaza, a shopping mall in the Inner West of Sydney. He sat in a café called The Coffee Pot, where he drank a number of cups of coffee.
At approximately 3:30 p.m., apparently without provocation, Frankum pulled a large knife from an army surplus duffel bag and repeatedly stabbed one of two teenage girls who were sitting behind him, killing the girl.
Leaving the knife in the body of the girl, he pulled a Chinese-made SKS semi-automatic rifle out of his duffel and shot around the café, killing several more people. He then shot the café's owner dead and fled into the main area of the mall, where he killed his last victim.
Frankum ran into the rooftop car park and held a car owner at gunpoint, demanding that she take him to Enfield, a nearby suburb. Before the woman could start her car, police began to arrive on the scene with Constable Darren Stewart the first to arrive. He was shot at in his police car by Frankum from the car park rooftop, Stewart had run through the Strathfield shopping centre to engage Frankum but upon arriving at the carpark rooftop Frankum shot numerous rounds into the door leading to the carpark pinning down Stewart. Upon hearing more approaching sirens, Frankum apologised to the woman and then got out of the car, knelt on the ground, and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.
Frankum's shooting spree lasted around 10 minutes. He killed seven people and injured six, none of them personally known to him.
- Roberta Armstrong, age 15
- Robertson Kan Hock Voon, age 51
- Patricia Rowe, age 37
- Carole Dickinson, age 47
- Joyce Nixon, age 61
- Rachell Milburn, age 17
- George Mavris, age 51
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- "Gunman held licence for $3". The Canberra Times. 65, (20,584). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 21 August 1991. p. 3. Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Man 'planned mass murder in a very public place'". The Canberra Times. 66, (20,668). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 13 November 1991. p. 3. Retrieved 13 June 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- (17 August 2011). Strathfield massacre victims remembered. burwoodscene.com.au.
- "UNSUNG HERO OF STRATHFIELD'S MASSACRE HONOURED". www.canberratimes.com.au. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
- Milton, R (1993). Profile of a Mass Killer : Wade Frankum at Strathfield Plaza. Blackstone Press, Bondi Junction, NSW. ISBN 1-875114-26-2.