Nearly one million people were killed in the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Although scholars have theorized why this violence occurred, we know comparatively less about how it unfolded. Accordingly, this article assesses the determinants of subnational levels of killing in 142 Rwandan communes by relying on data from the Rwandan Ministry of Local Administration and Community Development, the National University of Rwanda, and the 1991 Rwandan census. Fixed effects analyses reveal that top‐down and bottom‐up factors coalesced to influence violence across Rwanda. The state orchestrated and implemented the violence, and more violence occurred near the extremist center of the country as well as where state actors met strong opposition. Local conditions also shaped the violence, however, and indicators of low community cohesion and social control are associated with comparatively more violence. When put together, a unique model is introduced that integrates state conflict theories and social control theories of crime to explain subnational killing during the genocide in Rwanda.