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VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Casey Murphy
Everyone remembers where they were when these watershed moments went down. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we'll be looking at infamous crimes that left the world reeling. Our countdown of horrible crimes that shocked the world includes the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 2015 Paris Attacks, the Assassination of JFK, and more!

10 Horrible Crimes That Shocked The World


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be looking at infamous crimes that left the world reeling. We’ll be excluding war crimes, however.

Tiananmen Square Massacre (1989)

The iconic photograph of an unidentified man facing down a line of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square has become an enduring symbol of individual bravery in the face of government brutality. In April 1989, student-led protests spread across China, calling for democracy and greater civil liberties. Workers joined them, angry over inflation and corruption. At first, the government avoided direct action. But on June 4th, the military was sent in to disperse protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. The death toll is disputed, with estimates ranging from hundreds to thousands - tragically silenced forever.

Jeffrey Dahmer Killings (1978-91)

Also known as the Milwaukee Monster, Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 men between 1978 and 1991. He also did horrific things with their remains. Such awful crimes raise difficult questions: Where does this kind of evil come from? And how was he able to get away with it for so long? After Dahmer was arrested in 1991, and the crimes exposed, the world was outraged. A group calling themselves Milwaukee Civic Pride even raised over $400,000 to purchase and destroy many of his possessions. Dahmer was killed by another prisoner in 1994. Even decades later, people continue to feel shocked at the brutality of his crimes.

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

In the struggle for equality, few speakers have had as lasting an impact as Martin Luther King Jr.. As a megaphone of justice during the American civil rights movement, Dr. King’s words inspired countless people, as he insisted that the road to universal freedom be a peaceful one. His sudden assassination devastated the nation, leaving a powder keg of anger and sadness. Riots erupted across the country, but important legislation also materialized in the wake of his impact. King inspired civil rights activism across multiple continents and through forthcoming decades. He remains an immortal icon of cultural and social change.

Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson & Ronald Goldman (1994)

All of us who grew up in the 90s remember the line: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.” And what about that surreal police chase we watched unfold on live TV? In June 1994, former footballer and actor O. J. Simpson was arrested after his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were murdered. The trial was well-publicized, with millions of people watching and debating whether or not Simpson did it. In the end, O.J. was acquitted, although he was found liable in a later civil trial. Even today, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who DOESN’T have an opinion on the case.

2015 Paris Attacks (2015)

News of the terrifying attacks in Paris on November 13th spread quickly in 2015. In coordinated attacks across the city, Islamist terrorists killed 130 people. Three bombers blew themselves up outside the football stadium Stade de France during a game. Other terrorists fired on cafes and restaurants. The worst attack however came during an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan theater. In the awful aftermath, many countries reached out to show their support. People all over the world grieved for the victims and for France.

The Oklahoma City Bombing (1995)

Before September 11th, this next crime was the deadliest terrorist attack to happen within the United States. On April 19, 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing left 168 dead and 680 people injured. The perpetrators were anti-government white supremacists who had served together in the US Army. They used a truck bomb to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The two sought revenge for how government agencies had handled the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff with white separatist Randy Weaver, and the 1993 Waco Siege with a religious cult known as the Branch Davidians. McVeigh was executed in 2001, while Nichols remains behind bars.

Munich Massacre (1972)

The 1972 Summer Olympics were a historic occasion: it was the first time that Germany had hosted since Hitler’s rule as Führer. However, hopes for a peaceful event were shattered when eight men from Palestinian militant organization Black September killed two members of the Israeli Olympics team and took nine others hostage. They demanded the release of 234 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The news was televised worldwide, as people at home watched in fear and anger. In a botched rescue attempt, all the hostages were killed. It was a tragedy that remains ingrained in many people’s minds.

Manson Family Murders (1969)

In 1967’s Summer of Love, struggling musician Charles Manson moved to San Francisco, where he gathered a group of dedicated followers, most of them women. While he preached free love, he was in fact a white supremacist with delusions of grandeur. His cult, the Manson Family, set themselves up in a ranch in Los Angeles County. The group was responsible for at least nine murders - perhaps up to 24 - which may have been motivated by Manson’s belief in an impending race war. Their most infamous crime was the murder of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others found at her home. The crime left everyone in the area and edge, and remains notorious today. Manson died in prison in November, 2017.

Assassination of JFK (1963)

America’s heart still aches when remembering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. As he rode in a presidential motorcade in Dallas, Texas, he was shot twice, with his Jacqueline sitting beside him. The shooter was former U.S. Marine Lee Harvey Oswald, but although he was arrested, he himself was murdered by nightclub operator Jack Ruby. These circumstances would go on to spawn numerous conspiracy theories. The nation in mourning, Hundreds of thousands of people showed up to see President Kennedy’s casket and pay their respects. What happened that infamous day is still talked about and debated.

September 11 Attacks (2001)

Many of us can remember exactly where we were when we heard the news of the September 11 attacks in 2001. Islamist terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing two into New York’s Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed into a field after passengers onboard revolted. In total, almost 3,000 people were killed. People were shocked - at the loss of life, at an attack on American soil, and that the US had been blindsided. In the aftermath, the world changed forever - with the so-called War on Terror and the NSA’s expanded powers of mass surveillance. It was a truly tragic opening to the 21st century.

What crime do you find the most shocking? Let us know in the comments below.
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