Assailant Details

An assailant is someone who has a malicious motive to plan and execute an attack on someone. Several crimes involve assailants, including robbery, burglary, serial killings, petty theft, fraud, drug trafficking, cybercrime, abuse/domestic violence, and many others. However, of all the different types of crime, assault is the one we most regularly associate with assailants.

Some assailants usually perform assault so that they can seek revenge for something that someone did to them. In most cases, it's the target who wronged them. Others do it out of pure hate or malice, which they fail to keep under control. However, there are special instances whereby the assailants kill for pleasure, like serial killers.

A third party may hire assailants to perform the assault on an identified target. These are known as hitmen. Hitmen are professional assailants and can also be referred to as assassins if the assignment they are tasked with involves the target's death.

Real-life Examples of Assailants

There have been many high-profile cases of assault. One of the most recent cases of assault was the Stoneman Douglas high school shooting. The shooting resulted in the death of 17 people—teachers, students, and school staff—on February 28, 2018. The assailant's name was Nikolas Cruz. Cruz was 19 years old and a former student of the school. Police arrested him shortly after the incident at a nearby center. The court charged him with 17 accounts of premeditated murder and 17 accounts of attempted murder. The police didn't identify Nikolas' motive for his actions which shows that he didn't have a particular reason for doing what he did. The court later declared him mentally ill.

Infamous serial killers—assailants to the nth degree—include Jack the Ripper, Jeffrey Dahmer, Harold Shipman, H.H Holmes, and the infamous Ted Bundy. These serial killers committed multiple murders without any particular motive—just for pleasure.

One of the assailants on this list, Ted Bundy, mainly targeted young women and girls. He kidnapped them, raped them, and killed them because he loved the attention that his murders brought him. He took pleasure in his actions and even confessed to all the 30 homicides during what is considered to be the first televised murder trial. History considers him a psychotic, notorious criminal who was a menace to society. Bundy was later given the death penalty in 1989 and was executed via electric chair on January 24, 1989. The cases of Ted Bundy and Nikolas Cruz are typical examples of assailants who assaulted and even murdered their victims.

Assailant vs. Attacker

Both terms, assailant and attacker, may be used interchangeably. But whereas all assailants are attackers, not all attackers are assailants. An attacker is someone who attempts to cause damage to one's reputation, emotional or physical well-being, or a thought or idea. An assailant is someone who attacks violently and criminally. Most, if not all, times, this attack is physical.