On December 9, 1981, Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner is found dead on the street with Mumia Abu-Jamal, a well-known activist and freelance journalist, lying severely wounded nearby. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was tried for and convicted of Faulkner's murder, but because of the murky circumstances surrounding the incident and a trial that many believe was unfair, activists have since protested Abu-Jamal's imprisonment.
On December 7, 1992, Colin Ferguson opens fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train from New York City, killing 6 and injuring 19. Other train passengers stopped the perpetrator by tackling and holding him down. Ferguson later attributed the shooting spree to his deep-seated hatred of white people.
The Reno Bros. Gang
On December 6, 1868, a guard, who had been shot by brothers Frank, William, and Simeon Reno during a train robbery in May, died of his wounds. His death so infuriated the public that a group of vigilantes yanked the three brothers from their Indiana jail cell five days later and hanged them. Although the Reno gang had a short reign of terror, they are credited with pulling off the first train robbery in American history and are believed to be the inspiration for criminal copycats like Jesse James and others.
Warren Avenue Baptist Church
On December 5, 1873, Bridget Landregan is found beaten and strangled to death in the Boston suburb of Dorchester. According to witnesses, a man in black clothes and a flowing cape attempted to sexually assault the dead girl before running away. In 1874, a man fitting the same description clubbed another young girl, Mary Sullivan, to death. His third victim, Mary Tynan, was bludgeoned in her bed in 1875. Although she survived for a year after the severe attack, she was never able to identify her attacker.
Black Panther leader Fred Hampton
On December 4, 1969, Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were gunned down by police in their Chicago, Illinois apartment. About a hundred bullets had been fired in what police described as a fierce gun battle with members of the Black Panther Party. However, ballistics experts later determined that only one of those bullets came from the Panthers' side.
On December 2, 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was executed on charges of treason, murder, and insurrection. Brown was born in Connecticut in 1800. He first became militant during the mid-1850s, when as a leader of the Free State forces in Kansas he fought pro-slavery settlers. Achieving only moderate success in his fight against slavery in Kansas, Brown settled on a more ambitious plan in 1859.
On November 30, 1989, Richard Mallory, a storeowner in Palm Harbor, Florida, is last seen taking a ride with Aileen Wuornos. The following day, his car was found abandoned in a remote area of Ormond Beach. Nearly two weeks later, his body turned up in a Daytona Beach junkyard with three bullets in his chest. Mallory's murder was the first of seven committed by Aileen Wuornos over the next year. Perhaps because she was one of the few women killers to gain widespread fame and notoriety, she has been inaccurately dubbed "America's first female serial killer."