This paper presents the results of an analysis of data on mortality in the magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck the central Italian city and province of L’Aquila during the night of 6 April 2009. The aim is to create a profile of the deaths in terms of age, gender, location, behaviour during the tremors, and other aspects. This could help predict the pattern of casualties and priorities for protection in future earthquakes. To establish a basis for analysis, the literature on seismic mortality is surveyed. The conclusions of previous studies are synthesised regarding patterns of mortality, entrapment, survival times, self-protective behaviour, gender and age. These factors are investigated for the data set covering the 308 fatalities in the L’Aquila earthquake, with help from interview data on behavioural factors obtained from 250 survivors. In this data set, there is a strong bias towards victimisation of young people, the elderly and women. Part of this can be explained by geographical factors regarding building performance: the rest of the explanation refers to the vulnerability of the elderly and the relationship between perception and action among female victims, who tend to be more fatalistic than men and thus did not abandon their homes between a major foreshock and the main shock of the earthquake, three hours later. In terms of casualties, earthquakes commonly discriminate against the elderly and women. Age and gender biases need further investigation and should be taken into account in seismic mitigation initiatives.