Incident Summary:

10/8/1977: Joseph Paul Franklin fired 5 shots into a crowd of people leaving a Bar Mitzvah at the Brith Shalom Kneseth Israel Congregation synagogue in Richmond Heights, Missouri in the United States. Gerald Gordon died, and Steven Goldman and William Ash were wounded.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:


Richmond Heights

Location Details:
parking lot

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Jewish people at Brith Shalom Kneseth Israel Congregation
Specific Description Jews leaving a Bar Mitzvah at synagogue
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage No
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Rifle/Shotgun (non-automatic)
Weapon Details
sniper rifle
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information To prepare for this incident Joseph Paul Franklin scouted synagogues throughout the St. Louis area. He choose temple Brith Shalom because he could shoot without being seen. He escaped from the scene on a bicycle.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
White extremists No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 1 Fatalities / 2 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 1
Number of U.S. Fatalities 1
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 2
Number of U.S. Injured 2
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Malcolm Gladwell, "Damaged," New Yorker, February, 24, 1997. ."
"John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, "The Anatomy of Motive," Simon & Schuster, 1999."
"White Supremacist Named in 5th Killing," New York Times, November 12, 1994."