Month Day
September 22

So-called Midtown Stabber kills his first victim

Glenn Dunn is shot and killed outside a Buffalo supermarket by a man carrying a gun concealed in a paper bag. His murder was the first in a series of strange attacks in both upstate New York and New York City. Within two days, three other young men were murdered. One was killed near Niagara Falls, the other two in Buffalo. Although the mysterious shooter dropped .22-caliber shell casings at one of the shootings, police did not have much other evidence.

A few months later, on December 22, six men were stabbed while walking on crowded New York City streets by an attacker who was labeled by the press the “Midtown Stabber.” Four of the victims died from their wounds. Because the victims were all African-American and Hispanic, officials believed that the killer was motivated by racial hatred. When two additional African-American men were killed in Buffalo by a .22-caliber sawed-off rifle, authorities began to connect all of the killings.

Investigators were still not much closer to cracking the case when a newly enlisted soldier at Fort Benning, Georgia, slashed an African-American soldier in January 1981. The attacking soldier, Joseph Christopher, then bragged to a nurse about killing 13 men in New York. When law enforcement officials checked into Christopher’s past, they found that he had been on a three-day furlough from the army at the exact time of the New York City stabbings. In addition, the end of a sawed-off .22 rifle barrel was found at his family’s hunting lodge, although the murder weapon was never recovered. In addition, a misfired bullet that matched the .22 casings was found at his parents’ house in Buffalo.

In April1982, Christopher was convicted of the Buffalo area murders, but the conviction was later overturned because the judge had refused to permit expert testimony about Christopher’s mental stability. In 1985, Christopher was sentenced to life in prison for the New York City killings.

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Shaka Zulu assassinated

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U-boat devastates British squadron

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Iran-Iraq War

Long-standing border disputes and political turmoil in Iran prompt Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to launch an invasion of Iran’s oil-producing province of Khuzestan. After initial advances, the Iraqi offense was repulsed. In 1982, Iraq voluntarily withdrew and sought a peace ...read more

Medina is acquitted of all charges

Captain Ernest Medina is acquitted of all charges relating to the My Lai massacre of March 1968. His unit, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division, was charged with the murder of over 200 Vietnamese civilians, ...read more

Friends debuts

On this day in 1994, the television sitcom Friends, about six young adults living in New York City, debuts on NBC. The show, which featured a group of relatively unknown actors, went on to become a huge hit and air for 10 seasons. It also propelled the cast–Jennifer Aniston, ...read more

Patriot executed for spying

In New York City on this day in 1776, Nathan Hale, a Connecticut schoolteacher and captain in the Continental Army, is executed by the British for spying. A graduate of Yale University, Hale joined a Connecticut regiment in 1775 and served in the successful siege of ...read more