As WND has reported, Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof was a known drug user who was caught with the powerful mind-altering narcotic Suboxone when apprehended by police during an incident on Feb. 28.
Suboxone is used to treat addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin. It’s adverse effects include anxiety, irritability, depersonalization, confusion, suicidal thoughts and irrational, sometimes violent behavior.
Other drugs linked to mass killers have more often been geared toward treating mental illness. According to a data set of U.S. mass shootings from 1982-2012 prepared by Mother Jones magazine, of 62 mass shootings carried out by 64 shooters, the majority of the shooters (41) were noted to have signs of possible mental illness — the precise kinds of mental illnesses that psychotropic medications are prescribed for.
It is a well-documented fact that in the 1980s, a shift occurred in the direction of treating the mentally ill. Rather than institutionalize them, the preferred method was to “mainstream” them, encouraging them to function in society while being treated with a mind-numbing array of new anti-depressants being developed by the pharmaceutical industry.
WND has compiled a list of killings committed by persons who had used mind-altering drugs or recently come off of them at the time of their crimes:
Bradley Stone, a former Marine in suburban Philadelphia, shot and killed his ex-wife Nicole Stone, her mother and her grandmother, and he ‘chopped’ Nicole’s sister, her husband and their 14-year-old daughter to death with an ax. Nicole Stone’s 17-year-old nephew was the lone survivor of the three-home massacre. Stone was being treated for mental health issues. After the six slayings, he committed suicide with a lethal mixture of depressants, antidepressants and schizophrenia medications, his autopsy revealed. Police found Bradley Stone’s body in the woods a week before Christmas, 2014, a day after he killed his six victims, police told the New York Daily News.
- Aaron Ray Ybarra, 26, of Mountlake Terrace, Washington, allegedly opened fire with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University in June 2014, killing one student and wounding two others. Ybarra said then he “feels he identifies with one of the Columbine killers, whom he identified as Eric Harris,” counselor Deldene J. Garner wrote later in a chemical dependency assessment filed in Edmonds Municipal Court. Ybarra had been referred to the counselor following his arrest in July 2012 for driving drunk on an Edmonds sidewalk. He reported “being diagnosed with Psychosis and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder,” the report said. On occasion, “voices scared him,” Ybarra told the counselor. He said he’d been prescribed with Prozac and Risperdal to help him with his problems.
- Jose Reyes, the Nevada seventh-grader who went on a shooting rampage at his school in October 2013 was taking a prescription antidepressant at the time, and had told a psychotherapist that he was teased at school, the Associated Press reported. Reyes, 12, opened fire Oct. 21 at Sparks Middle School, killing a teacher and wounding two classmates before committing suicide. His doctor had prescribed 10 mg of Prozac once daily, according to police reports. Toxicology reports indicated that at the time of autopsy the suspect had a generic form of Prozac, Fluoxetine in his system consistent with the prescription given.
- Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old shooter who killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, had been prescribed several psychiatric drugs, including Fanapt, a controversial anti-psychotic medicine, the Business Insider reported. “Fanapt is one of a many drugs the FDA pumped out with an ability to exact the opposite desired effect on people: that is, you know, inducing rather than inhibiting psychosis and aggressive behavior,” Business Insider reported.
- Reno Hospital shooter Alan Oliver Frazier, 51, killed his doctor and wounded one other person before killing himself in December 2013 in Reno, Nevada. Frazier took Prozac but didn’t like being dependent on the medication and would sometimes stop using it, his ex-girlfriend told the Associated Press.
- Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis sprayed bullets at office workers and in a cafeteria on Sept. 16, 2013, killing 13 people including himself. Alexis had been prescribed Trazodone by his Veterans Affairs doctor. Trazadone is a generic antidepressant that is seldom used anymore to treat depression but is widely prescribed for insomnia, experts told the Washington Post.
- Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58 in the July 20, 2012, tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Thirty-eight days before the attack, the psychiatrist treating suspect James Holmes told a police officer that her patient had confessed homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, according to court documents unsealed in April 2013 and reported on by the Denver Post. The psychiatrist, Dr. Lynne Fenton, also told the officer that Holmes had stopped seeing her and had been threatening her in text messages and e-mails, the documents state. The officer, Lynn Whitten, responded by deactivating Holmes’ key-card access to secure areas of University of Colorado medical campus buildings, according to search-warrant affidavits. Police found medications in his apartment, including sedatives and the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam. They also found the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.
- A 20-year-old woman accused of opening fire and shooting three people in a Gig Harbor, Washington, grocery was charged with murder in October 2012, after one of the victims died. Laura Sorenson appeared in Pierce County Superior Court, where prosecutors filed a charge of first-degree murder against her two months after the death of David Long, 40. Sorenson is accused of walking into the Peninsula Market just before 1 p.m. on Aug. 11, 2012 and firing at customers until she was tackled to the ground. Witnesses told police that Sorenson said something about “killing” people prior to pulling out a revolver from her purse and firing four to five shots. After the shooting, Sorenson revealed to detectives she has a mental condition and is on medication, court documents said, adding she wanted to kill herself and wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone else first, the Komo News reported.
- The mentally ill gunman who killed a worker and wounded several others at a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center psychiatric hospital in March 2012 had previously threatened staff at an affiliated hospital with a baseball bat. Medical records and other information show 30-year-old John Shick, held a grudge, believing he had misdiagnosed illnesses ranging from a bad ankle to pancreatitis to erectile dysfunction, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said. Shick twice went to UPMC Shadyside hospital in February with the bat and threatened the staff, and yet Pittsburgh police were not called, Zappala told the Associated Press. Zappala said investigators hadn’t yet determined why Shick targeted UPMC’s Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where he was treated twice after he was kicked off the Duquesne University campus for harassing female students with repeated requests for dates. At the second visit, a clinic doctor urged Shick to resume medication for schizophrenia — after his mother told doctors he stopped taking it months before. Shick walked out and skipped a follow-up appointment in December.” His contacts at UPMC began to get more serious and disturbing after that,” said Deputy District Mark Tranquilli, who handles homicide cases for Zappala. In Shick’s apartment, investigators found 43 drugs used to treat 20 conditions, from anti-depressants to medicines for intestinal worms.
- Mohamed Merah fell in a hail of bullets in a March 22, 2012 raid after shooting seven people at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, after telling police who sought his surrender that he regretted not “going back to the Jewish school” which would have enabled him to kill more children, according to comments reported by the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche. Merah had been prescribed psychotropic drugs and sleep aides “to calm his stress,” a doctor said.
- It was reported in March 2012 that Staff Sgt. Robert Bales had killed 15 innocent civilians in Afghanistan, a horrific crime that men in his unit said went beyond the pale even for someone suffering from PTSD. It was later revealed by his wife that Bales was being treated with anti-depressants. She and her husband were both on antidepressants, “as is the rest of the army population….okay maybe not everyone. Just the ones that have been in for several years now, the ones who will actually admit when things are really screwed up,” she told the Daily Beast.
Anders Breivik, known as Norway’s “laughing gunman,” killed 92 people, many of them children, in 2011. Norway officials amassed pages and pages of analysis of the horrific crime, but almost nobody noticed that the smirking Breivik was taking large quantities of mind-altering chemicals, the Daily Mail reported. In this case, the substances are an anabolic steroid called stanozolol, combined with an amphetamine-like drug called ephedrine, plus caffeine. The authorities and most of the media were more interested in his non-existent belief in fundamentalist Christianity, the Mail reported.
- Anabolic steroids were also used heavily by David Bieber, who killed one policeman and tried to kill two more in Leeds, England, in 2003, and by Raoul Moat, who last summer shot three people in Northumberland, killing one and blinding another. Steroids are strongly associated with mood changes, uncontrollable anger and many other problems.
- Jeff Weise, culprit of the 2005 Red Lake High School shootings, had been taking “antidepressants.”
- Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox – like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999 during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves. Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox – that’s 1 in 25 – developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.
- Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, California, in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban “semiautomatic assault weapons” in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.
- Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.
- In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Ill., killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.
- In Paducah, Kentucky, in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school’s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.
- In 2005, 16-year-old Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.
- 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Kentucky, killing nine. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.
- Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danysh’s description of own his mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: “I didn’t realize I did it until after it was done,” Danysh said. “This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.”
- John Hinckley, then age 25, took four Valium two hours before shooting and almost killing President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the assassination attempt, Hinckley also wounded press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and policeman Thomas Delahanty.
- Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in the family bathtub near Houston. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years. At her 2006 murder re-trial (after a 2002 guilty verdict was overturned on appeal), Yates’ longtime friend Debbie Holmes testified: “She asked me if I thought Satan could read her mind and if I believed in demon possession.” And Dr. George Ringholz, after evaluating Yates for two days, recounted an experience she had after the birth of her first child: “What she described was feeling a presence … Satan … telling her to take a knife and stab her son Noah,” Ringholz said, adding that Yates’ delusion at the time of the bathtub murders was not only that she had to kill her children to save them, but that Satan had entered her and that she had to be executed in order to kill Satan.Yates had been taking the antidepressant Effexor. In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added “homicidal ideation” to the drug’s list of “rare adverse events.”
- 12-year-old Christopher Pittman struggled in court to explain why he murdered his grandparents, who had provided the only love and stability he’d ever known in his turbulent life. “When I was lying in my bed that night,” he testified, “I couldn’t sleep because my voice in my head kept echoing through my mind telling me to kill them.” Christopher had been angry with his grandfather, who had disciplined him earlier that day for hurting another student during a fight on the school bus. So later that night, on Nov. 28, 2001, he shot both of his grandparents in the head with a .410 shotgun as they slept, then burned down their South Carolina home, where he had lived with them. “I got up, got the gun, and I went upstairs and I pulled the trigger,” he recalled. “Through the whole thing, it was like watching your favorite TV show. You know what is going to happen, but you can’t do anything to stop it.” Pittman’s lawyers would later argue that the boy had been a victim of “involuntary intoxication.” They said his 30-year sentence was excessive for someone his age and claimed the “heavy doses of anti-depressants he was taking sent his mind spinning out of control.” Doctors had him on Paxil and Zoloft just prior to the murders. Paxil’s known “adverse drug reactions” – according to the drug’s FDA-approved label – include “mania,” “insomnia,” “anxiety,” “agitation,” “confusion,” “amnesia,” “depression,” “paranoid reaction,” “psychosis,” “hostility,” “delirium,” “hallucinations,” “abnormal thinking,” “depersonalization” and “lack of emotion,” among others.
The preceding examples are some of the best-known offenders who had been taking prescribed psychiatric drugs before committing their violent crimes – there are many others logged at SSRI Stories: Anti-Depressant Nightmares.
See WND’s extensive coverage of the Charleston, South Carolina, church massacre: