What's the proper word to describe someone shooting anywhere around in order to kill as many as possible:

The terrorists entered the room and started shooting ________, 5 were killed, 1 injured.

closed as general reference by MetaEd, Lynn, kiamlaluno, Bravo, tchrist Apr 11 '13 at 11:31

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is a word for acting without control or precision. To discriminate is to choose*, so something indiscriminate is without the choosing. In your case, if they'd fired without choosing targets, this would be a good word.

*Since the Civil Rights movement it's had a connotation for choosing for bad reasons.


Malice is intentional, almost gleeful evil. Shooting with the intent to kill lots of bystanders is without a doubt malicious.

Into the crowd

while a phrase, not a word, it seems to be a straightforward description of what they did.

To kill

Another phrase, but "shooting to kill" is an expression for trying to use a weapon to commit murder, as opposed to using it to intimidate or suppress. It also has action-movie sensibilities, so it conveys the ... action implied by your explanation.

  • Indiscriminately it is. – Shimmy Mar 17 '13 at 7:08

Anywhere isn't the right word. It might suffice to say everywhere, but you'd probably need to make it more specific, e.g., ** in every direction** to indicate that they weren't interested in specific targets but only in killing as many people as possible.


Although I think I'm with rsegal and indiscriminately (and have upvoted his answer) another option might be in all directions.

The terrorists entered the room and started shooting in all directions.

  • 1
    I'd say randomly. – amanda witt Mar 17 '13 at 7:04

Indiscriminately sounds to me more determined, so perhaps that is the better word but the word wildly is often used in this context.

The terrorists entered the room and started shooting wildly, 5 were killed, 1 injured

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