A drive-by shooting (or drive-by for short) is a form of hit-and-run tactic, a personal attack carried out by an individual or individuals from a moving or momentarily stopped vehicle. It often results in the shooting of innocent bystanders or a certain target. The objective is to overwhelm the target by a sudden, massive amount of firepower without attention to accuracy.
Some of the first gun control laws were passed to control assailants who would ride up to their targets on horseback, shoot them with wheellock pistols and then ride off before they could be apprehended.
The British Special Air Service
used a form of drive-by shooting in its campaigns in North Africa and France during the Second World War. Columns of heavily armed jeeps, bristling with machine guns, would drive past and sometimes through enemy positions, usually airfields and supply depots, shooting anything and everything.
In the afterword of his novel Hammer's Slammers the author David Drake recounts a drive through shooting by a column of tanks in the Vietnam War.
Drive-by shootings have been employed by gang members since the 1920's during the prohibition era. Then used mostly to disrupt distribution of alcohol by rivals, it is now used to commit revenge murder. Drive-by's are an efficient way of taking out rivals, as it allows the perpetrators to not only flee from the police, but quickly get out of a rival's turf.
of political leaders have been common in some regions and eras. It was one of the tactics used by groups such as the Red Army Faction
, the Red Brigades
and November 17
. The November 17 assassination of Brigadier Stephen Saunders
was carried out by assassins on motorcycle who approached the vehicle while it was stopped at a traffic light and shot him dead before speeding off.
For a time in the 70's the German special operations unit GSG 9 trained some of its operators in the "art" of the drive-by shooting so as to be able to better protect those in its charge.
Post invasion Iraq
Recently drive-by shootings have been used extensively in the Iraq war
. These attacks include but are not limited to the following:
- Drive-by rocket attack on Aqila al-Hashimi, September 21 2003.
- Killing of US soldier in Mosul, December 8 2003.
- Attack on a US military convoy, January 14 2004.
- Killing of two CNN employees, January 27 2004.
- Attack on five American missionaries March 15 2004.
- Ambush of foreign contractors, March 28 2004.
- Murder of Waldemar Milewicz and a colleague, May 7 2004.
- Assassination of Hatem Kamil, November 1 2004.
- Killing of three election workers, December 10 2004.
- Assassination of Kassim Imhawi, December 16 2004.
- Attack on police station in Kirkuk killing three police officers and a civilian, April 14 2005.
- Tit-for-tat killings of Iraqi clerics, May 17 2005.
- Spate of attacks leaves a newly wed amongst those killed, July 22 2005.
- Killing of five Iraqi police officers, August 9 2005.
- Attack on Omani Embassy, November 11 2005.
- Assassination of Meysoun al-Hashemi, April 27 2006.
- Killing of Iraqi Census Department official, February 7 2007.
In popular culture
Hip hop culture
References to drive-bys were once prevalent in rap
, at times to the point of glorification by certain artists. However, this attitude changed drastically following the deaths of cultural icons Tupac Shakur
and Notorious B.I.G
, both by drive-by shooting, in the mid-1990s.
Drive-by shooting in video games
An early example is found in the game Quarantine, where the player could aim an UZI out the side window.
The Grand Theft Auto series of video games allows the player to aim his or her sub-machine gun out of the window of his vehicle to shoot.
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there is a mission in which the player has to follow a fellow gang member on a bike while a gang is in a car behind and shooting at the protagonist. In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and Saints Row, the player can recruit various gang members to shoot out of the car against his enemies who include police and various opposing gangs.
The Godfather: The Game also features various levels where the player drives a car while an assistant uses a Thompson submachine gun out of the back windows.
The game Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven enables the player to use the mouse for more precise aiming during drive-by shootings. The camera moves with the mouse, requiring the player to concentrate both on the target and direction on the road at once. This style was also used in the Xbox 360 games Saint's Row and Grand Theft Auto IV.