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- February 13 - Konstantin Chernenko is named General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union following the death of Yuri Andropov.
- February 24 - 49th Street Elementary School shooting
- March 18 - Katsuhisa Ezaki, head of Ezaki Glico corporation, is abducted by unidentified assailants, marking the beginning of the Monster With 21 Faces case.
- April 1 - Singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye is murdered by his father Marvin Gay Sr.
- April 10 - Richard Ramirez commits his first confirmed murder, killing 9-year old Mei Leung in the basement of the hotel where he was living, in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.
- May 30 - The La Penca bombing is perpetrated by the Sandinista National Liberation Front at a guerrilla outpost located on the Nicaraguan-Costa Rican border in an attempt to assassinate Contra leader Edén Pastora. Seven people, including three journalists, are killed in the attack.
- June 18 - Jewish attorney and talk show host Alan Berg is murdered by members of the white supremacist group The Order.
- July 18 – 41-year-old James Oliver Huberty enters a McDonald's restauraunt in the San Ysidro neighborhood of San Diego, California and kills 21 people before being gunned down by a SWAT officer.
- June 23 - 15-year old Kirsten Costas is murdered in her family's front yard in Orinda, California by her classmate Bernadette Protti.
- July 22 - The People's Redemption Council (the ruling military junta of Liberia since 1980) is dissolved.
- August 4 - Upper Volta is renamed Burkina Faso on the one-year anniversary of Thomas Sankara's coup.
- August 28 - 18-year old Elisabeth Fritzl is lured into the modified basement of her Amstetten, Austria home by her father Josef Fritzl, who traps her in the basement and convinces her mother that she had run away. This begins Elisabeth's 24 years of imprisonment in the basement, during which her father repeatedly rapes and abuses her numerous times.
- October 12 - Patrick Magee bombs the Grand Hotel in Brighton in a failed attempt to kill prime minister Margaret Thatcher, killing five people.
- October 31 - Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by a Sikh suicide bomber at her residence on Safdarjung Road in New Delhi.
- Unknown - The Order of the Solar Temple is founded.
- Unknown - Aum Shinrikyo is founded by Shoko Asahara.
- January 8 - Kim Jong-un
- January 18 - Seung-Hui Cho
- February 3 - Brian McGhee
- March 17 - Joshua Phillips
- March 27 - Ross William Ulbricht
- June 30 - Ismail Ibrahim of Johor
- August 11 - Mitchell Johnson & Katie Rees
- August 16 - Alexey Levkin
- August 31 - Julia Vickerman
- September 5 - Dahvie Vanity
- September 27 - Amanda Carmack
- March 2 - Daniel Rohrbough
- August 28 - Steve Curnow
- February 9 - Yuri Andropov
- February 24 - Tyrone Mitchell
- March 17 - Jeff Doucet
- March 21 - August Frank
- March 31 - Ronald Clark O'Bryan
- March 26 - Ahmed Sékou Touré
- April 13 - Christopher Wilder
- July 18 - James Oliver Huberty
- July 26 - Ed Gein
- September 9 - Yılmaz Güney
- October 31 - Indira Gandhi
- November 2 - Velma Barfield
- December 2 - Kieran Fleming
- December 6 - William Fleming
- December 7 - Charles Ray Hatcher
- December 8 - Robert Jay Mathews
- April 1 - Marvin Gaye
- April 10 - Mei Leung
- June 18 - Alan Berg
- June 23 - Kirsten Costas