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Becky G
Becky G
April 15, 2024

Easter Sunday Massacre


The Easter Sunday Massacre occurred on Easter Sunday, March 30, 1975, when 41-year-old James U. Ruppert shot eleven members of his family with a .357 Magnum handgun and two .22-caliber handguns in his mother’s house at 635 Minor Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio. 

The victims of this massacre were his mother, 65-year-old Charity Ruppert, his brother, 42-year-old Leonard Ruppert Jr., his sister-in-law, 38-year-old Alma Ruppert, his nephews, 17-year-old Leonard Ruppert III, 16-year-old Michael Ruppert, 15-year-old Thomas Ruppert, 11-year-old David Ruppert, and 4-year-old John Ruppert, and his nieces, 13-year-old Carol Ruppert, 12-year-old Ann Ruppert, and 9-year-old Teresa Ruppert. There were 11 victims in total.

On Easter Sunday, Ruppert’s brother and his wife Alma brought their 8 children, ranging from ages 4-17, for Easter dinner at Ruppert’s house. He stayed upstairs, sleeping off a night full of drinking while the rest of the family members were participating in an Easter egg hunt in the front yard. Then around 4:00 p.m., James had woken up and loaded a .357 Magnum, two .22 caliber handguns, and a rifle and made his way downstairs. 

His mother Charity was preparing sloppy joes in the kitchen and was kept company by Leonard Jr. and Alma as most of the kids were in the living room playing. Ruppert killed Leonard first when he shot him in the head, then proceeded to shoot his sister-in-law, Alma. His mother lunged at him but he stopped her by shooting her once in the head and twice in the chest. He then proceeded to kill 11-year-old David, 9-year-old Teresa, and 13-year-old Carol. Ruppert then turned the corner and proceeded to kill the rest of his nieces and nephews: 12-year-old Ann, 17-year-old Leonard III, 16-year-old Michael, 15-year-old Thomas, and 4-year-old John. His mother was the only one who had been shot in the chest, as he killed the rest of his family members by shooting them in the head, but he did shoot some of them more than once, most likely to prevent anyone from escaping. The massacre had been over in less than 5 minutes. After spending three hours in the house, Ruppert finally called the police and told them, “There’s been a shooting.” He simply waited near the front door for the authorities to arrive. 

Ruppert was found guilty on two counts of aggravated murder, but not guilty on the other nine counts because of insanity. He received two life sentences for him to serve at Allen Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio, as well as the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. He was later moved to Franklin Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio in 2019 due to the fact his health was declining. James Ruppert died three years later on June 4, 2022 due to natural causes. He was 88 when he died. 

This massacre was really heartbreaking as many young children were killed. This is known as the deadliest shooting by a lone perpetrator in the state of Ohio. 

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Jessica Aguilar-Resendiz is a student who lives in Cornelius Oregon. She likes to bake, listen to music and hang out with friends.

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