The Anti-Defamation League’s annual Murder and Extremism report counted a total of 42 domestic extremism-related slayings last year. The gunman who shot and killed 22 people in August 2019 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, accounted for more than half of them. Patrick Crusius, the suspect in that shooting rampage, is accused of targeting Mexicans at the store and faces federal hate crime charges.
Only the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols in 1995 and the Pulse nightclub shooting by Omar Mateen in 2016 were deadlier attacks by domestic extremists in the past 50 years.
Right-wing extremists killed at least 330 people over the past decade, accounting for 76% of all domestic extremist-related killings.
The four killings that weren’t deemed to be acts of violence by far-right extremists were from the same case: the December 2019 attacks in Jersey City, New Jersey, that killed a police officer in a cemetery and three people at a kosher grocery store.
The attackers, David Anderson and Francine Graham, were motivated by a hatred of Jewish people and law enforcement. Both had ties to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which defies a simple “left-right” classification, according to the ADL.
Fourteen of the 17 cases of killings by domestic extremists last year involved a single death. One of those appears to be the first killing linked to QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that centers on the baseless belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state” and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.
Anthony Comello, who is charged with killing a New York mob boss in March 2019, displayed QAnon-related messages on his hand during a court hearing. A defense attorney has claimed Comello was deluded by internet conspiracy theories and thought he was helping Trump defend democracy.
None of the 42 killings last year was linked to domestic Islamist extremism, a first since 2012. However, a Saudi Arabian aviation student accused of fatally shooting three people at a U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida, in December is believed to be motivated by Islamic extremism. The base shootings appeared to be the first lethal foreign terror attack on American soil since the 9/11 terror attacks. The group’s annual tally of domestic extremism slayings doesn’t include foreign terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.
2019 is the sixth deadliest year for violence by all domestic extremists since 1970, according to the report.