Howard Barton Unruh
- Category : Passions-Criminal-Perpetrator-Homicide-serial
- Type : PM
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Distraction 2
American homicide; judged insane and incapable of standing trial. On 9/06/1949, he left the home where he lived with his mother at 9:00 AM and in the following twenty minutes shot and killed 13 men, women and children, and wounded three others because "people have made derogatory remarks about my character." A student, he had dropped out of college with plans to return and was described as "quiet."
The young white male, slender, attractive and clean-cut, was a gun collector but had sold most of his collection prior to the carnage. During his stint in the U.S. army when he spent two years in the European theater of WW II, he had qualified as a sharpshooter. He was working as a sheet metal worker at the Philadelphia Naval Base when he joined up in October 1942. After he was discharged from the army in 1945 he started a pharmacy course but dropped out in three months. He had one younger brother, James, who blamed Howard's "nervousness" on his army service. His parents were separated. Howard was a born-again Christian who attended church on Sundays and Bible class on Monday evenings.
He told his psychiatrist that he had contemplated killing several specific people for the last two years, and expressed no remorse, except for the children he shot. He had grievances with several of the neighbors, the Cohen's because "they made many remarks about me," the barber because the location of his building caused flooding in the Unruh cellar and the local shoemaker because he had thrown garbage over the fence into their yard. The tailor and his son had "circulated a story about me that was false." Other victims were passersby in automobiles, a two-year-old in an apartment window and a six-year-old boy sitting in the barber shop.
Confined to the New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, Unruh at the age of 60 was a stoop-shouldered man who walked in circles, feared contamination from books and believed that doctors were treating him through the television.
Still in custody, he died on October 19, 2009 in a Trenton, NJ nursing home.