Press Release

New ADL Data: Mass Shootings Accounted for the Majority of Victims of Extremist-Related Killings in 2022

Extremist-related mass killings have increased alarmingly in recent years.

New York, NY, February 23, 2023 … Of the 25 extremist-related murders in the United States in 2022, 60% were victims of mass shooting attacks, according to the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) Center on Extremism’s annual analysis of people killed by extremists. There was an overall decrease from the 33 extremist-related murders documented in 2021, comparable to the 22 extremist-related murders in 2020.

The two most serious incidents were deadly shooting sprees: the attack on Club Q, an LGBTQ+ bar in Colorado Springs, in November and the racism-inspired attack on the Tops Friendly Markets supermarket in Buffalo in May. 

All of the 25 extremist-related murders of 2022 were linked to right-wing extremists.  In most years, white supremacists commit the greatest number of domestic extremist-related murders, but in 2022 the percentage was especially high: 21 of the 25 murders were linked to white supremacists. Only one of the murders was committed by an anti-government extremist—the lowest number in that category since 2017.

“The data is clear year after year: right-wing extremists present an urgent and continuous violent threat in the United States,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Policymakers must do more to ensure a safe society for all Americans from hate-fueled and extremist violence.” 

Murder and Extremism in 2022: Summary of Major Findings 

  • Domestic extremists killed at least 25 people in 12 separate incidents in the United States in 2022, down from the 33 extremist-related murders documented in 2021. It continues the recent trend of fewer extremist-related killings after a five-year span of 47-78 extremist-related murders per year (2015-2019). 
  • The majority of extremist-related deaths in 2022 occurred as part of high-casualty mass shooting events. Extremist-related mass killings have increased at an alarming rate.  More than half (57%) of the ideological mass killings in the United States since 1970 have occurred in the past 12 years.
  • Almost all the killings in 2022 (93%) were committed with firearms.
  • Of the 444 people killed at the hands of extremists over the past 10 years, 335 (or 75%) were killed by right-wing extremists.
  • Of the 335 murders committed by right-wing extremists over the past 10 years, 73% were committed by white supremacists.
  • In 2022, 18 of the 25 extremist-related murders appear to have been committed in whole or part for ideological motives, while the remaining seven murders either have no clear motive or were committed for a non-ideological motive.

“One of the most alarming trends in extremist violence in recent years has been the increase in mass killing attempts by extremists,” said Oren Segal, Vice President for the ADL Center on Extremism. “It is frankly too easy for an individual motivated by hate to purchase a weapon and enter a house of worship, an LBGTQ+ bar, a supermarket or any other public place and wreak havoc on so many lives. We cannot stand idly by and accept this as the new norm.”

To view the incidents referenced in this report and other extremist activity across the country, refer to the ADL H.E.A.T. Map, which tracks incidents of hate and violence nationwide. 

Policy Recommendations

Policymakers should review ADL’s PROTECT Plan, our comprehensive plan to counter domestic terrorism while preserving civil liberties.  Urgent policy priorities include: 

  • The Biden-Harris Administration must create robust implementation for the National Strategy to Counter Domestic Terrorism and release the previously announced National Strategy to Address Antisemitism.
  • Congress must increase resources available for civil society to address domestic violent extremism, such as terrorism prevention grants to prevent radicalization and the Nonprofit Security Grant Program for nonprofits to secure themselves against violent threats.
  • Federal, state, and local officials should ensure that no public employees are involved in violent movements, and that those who sympathize with extremists are not in sensitive positions, such as law enforcement, the military, and other positions that may hold a security clearance. 
  • Congress should establish a publicly funded, independent clearinghouse to proactively find extremist content online and alert law enforcement and other officials of concerning activity.
  • In addition to efforts to counter extremism domestically, the Biden-Harris Administration should create a global movement to counter extremism and ensure that the transnational movements that fuel domestic threats have no home in partner countries.

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.