‘The most terrifying thing was realizing that they are not monsters’: the journalist who interviewed 12 mass shooters

  • Rafael Abuchaibe – @RafaelAbuchaibe
  • BBC News World

19 September 2022

Credit, Getty Images

Two days before the execution of assassin Mark Stroman – who killed two people and wounded a third in a shooting in which he said he wanted to “cleanse” the US of Islam after the September 11, 2001 attacks – British journalist Alex Hannaford managed to interview him.

“We were doing the last interview. He was very sorry and he said to me, ‘Look, I have nothing to lose by telling you I’m sorry for what I did. I’m going to be executed in a few days, but I want people to know that if there’s anything I can still do with my life is tell them it’s not worth it, that I was wrong. I was filled with hate,'” Hannaford told BBC News Mundo (the BBC’s Spanish-language news service).

For nearly 20 years, the journalist dedicated himself to visiting prisons and death rows in Texas, looking for stories that reflected the injustices of the American prison system. In addition, he was interested in the topic of gun ownership.

Mark Stroman.

Credit, Texas Correctional Department

photo caption,

Mark Stroman murdered two people believing they were Muslims just days after the September 11, 2001 attacks

Living in Texas, Hannaford had to regularly cover gun ownership control, something that inevitably led to mass shootings.