Drive-by shooting

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"Drive-by" redirects here. For other uses, see Drive-by (disambiguation).
For the album by the Rollins Band, see Drive by Shooting.

A drive-by shooting (or drive-by) is a form of hit-and-run tactic, a personal attack carried out by an individual or individuals from a moving vehicle, often without use of headlights to avoid being noticed. It often results in bystanders being shot instead of, or as well as, the intended target. The objective is to overwhelm the target by a sudden, massive amount of firepower without attention to accuracy. Two of the most famous drive-by shootings were the murders of rappers Tupac Shakur on September 7, 1996 (although Tupac died six days later on September 13, 1996), and The Notorious B.I.G. on March 9, 1997.

The tactic of drive-by shooting originated when assailants would ride up to their targets on horseback, shoot them with wheellock pistols and then ride off before they could be apprehended. Some of the first gun control laws were developed to combat these shootings.[1]


Military use[edit]

The British military (especially the Special Air Service) used this form of drive-by shooting in its campaigns in North Africa and France during the Second World War. Columns of heavily armed jeeps, bristling with machine guns, would drive past and sometimes through enemy positions, usually airfields and supply depots, shooting at military targets.[2]

In the first decade of the 21st century, drive-by shootings were used by militants in Iraq, including the assassinations of Waldemar Milewicz[3] and Hatem Kamil.[4]

The Islamic State always uses drive-by shootings to eliminate and to cut off retreating Iraqi Army soldiers and to assassinate several non-allied rebel group leaders and their members.

Drive-by-shootings are common in the Philippines by Islamic separtist groups in Mindanao.[5]

Gangland murders[edit]

In the United States, drive-by shootings have been used in organized crime since the Prohibition era of the 1920s. Originally used mostly to disrupt distribution of alcohol by rivals, they are now used to commit revenge killings. Drive-bys can be an efficient means of taking out rivals, as they allow the perpetrators to not only flee from the police but also escape rival territory quickly. Probably the most famous gangland drive-by-shooting happened when members of the North Side Gang attempted to shoot Al Capone at a coffee shop in September 1926, less than a month before the assassination of North Side leader Earl "Hymie" Weiss. In recent decades, drive-by shootings have become common homicide tactics associated with violent California street gangs all over the state. A 2006 study concluded that a full half of all reported drive-by shootings in the United States for that year occurred in California. [6]

Political assassinations[edit]

Drive-by assassinations of political leaders have been common in some regions and eras. It was one of the tactics used by groups such as the Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades and November 17. The 2000 assassination of Brigadier Stephen Saunders was carried out by assassins on motorcycle who approached the vehicle while it was stopped at a traffic light and shot him dead before speeding off.

For a time in the 1970s, the German special operations unit GSG 9 trained some of its operators in the "art" of the drive-by shooting so as to be able to better protect those in its charge.

Drive-by shootings, particularly from motorcycles, are a favourite method of Boko Haram. [7]

In the Israeli—Palestinian conflict[edit]

Palestinian militants have conducted drive-by shootings, examples include the Killing of Rabbi Meir Hai, the August 2010 West Bank shooting, the September 2010 West Bank shooting and other incidents during 2010.

Palestinians have claimed that the Israeli military have killed Palestinian activists in drive-by shootings.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lisa Jardine, The Awful End of Prince William the Silent: The First Assassination of a Head of State with a Hand-Gun (2005).
  2. ^ The Phantom Major: The Story of David Sterling and the Sas Regiment by Virginia Cowles , COLLINS. (January 1, 1958) and ASIN: B001DAJWNC
  3. ^ "BBC article about murder of Waldemar Milewicz". BBC News. 2004-05-07. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  4. ^ "article on Hatem Kamil's assassination". BBC News. 2004-11-01. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  5. ^ "8 Injured In Jolo Drive-by Shooting". The Mindanao Examiner. 29 January 2006. Retrieved 2014-02-14. 
  6. ^ Kirk, Arthur. "Half of Drive-by Shootings Occur in California". Yahoo! Voices. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Boko Haram article note 148
  8. ^ Joshua Ruebner, Clyde Mark, Kenneth Katzman, Alfred Prados (2001-01-05). "The Current Palestinian Uprising: Al-Aqsa Intifadah" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Retrieved 2010-09-28. 

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