18 of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history

Whitney Saleski / Anadolu Agency / GettyPeople fill the streets during a vigil after a shooting in the Oregon District of Dayton, Ohio.
  • On the first weekend of August, within 24 hours of each other, two of the worst mass shootings took place in modern US history.
  • On August 3, 22 people were killed and 24 injured in El Paso, Texas.
  • On August 4, nine people were killed and 27 injured in Dayton, Ohio.
  • They are now among 18 of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Within 24 hours of each other, two of the worst mass shootings took place in modern US history.

On August 3, 22 people were killed and 24 were injured in El Paso, Texas. Police say it was racially motivated. On August 4, nine people were killed and 27 injured in Dayton, Ohio. Police aren’t yet sure what the motive was.

This weekend of shootings bears the unfortunate – but increasingly familiar – distinction of joining the ranks of the deadliest American mass shootings in the last 60 years.

Already in 2019, there have been 17 mass shootings, by ABC’s count. The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks shootings in the US, has counted 255 mass shootings in 2019 so far. The organisation defines a mass shooting as a single incident in which at least four people are shot not including the gunman.

Here are 18 of the deadliest mass shootings in modern US history.


Las Vegas, October 1, 2017 — 59 dead, more than 850 wounded

Getty/David Becker

In October 2017, gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd attending the Route 91 Harvest festival from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Casino.

The rampage lasted more than 15 minutes as panicked concertgoers tried to take cover, unaware of where the fire was coming from. By the end of it, 58 people were killed, and more than 850 were injured.

A police SWAT unit broke into Paddock’s room and found the gunman dead by suicide.


Orlando, June 12, 2016 — 50 dead, 53 wounded

Associated Press/John RaouxThis Monday, July 11, 2016 photo shows a makeshift memorial outside the Pulse nightclub, a month after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla.

Before Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in US history was the 2016 shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded at least 53 at the nightclub before he was killed by Orlando police. As the club was hosting a “Latin Night,” many of the victims were Latino.

During the shooting, Mateen called Orlando police and swore allegiance to the ISIS, although authorities found no evidence of communication between the terrorist group and the attacker. Still, the shooting drew swift condemnation from American Muslims. It remains the deadliest act of terror in the US since September 11.


Virginia Tech University, April 16, 2007 — 32 dead, 17 wounded

AP Photo/Amy SancettaStudents embrace during a memorial service at the football stadium on the campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., April 17, 2007.

The 2007 mass shooting on Virginia Tech University’s campus remains the deadliest school shooting in US history.

Gunman Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the school, killed more than 30 students and instructors in two separate attacks about two hours apart before committing suicide. Seventeen students were wounded.


Sutherland Springs, Texas, November 5, 2017 — 26 dead, 20 wounded

AP Photo/Darren AbateMourners participate in a candlelight vigil held for the victims of a fatal shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

A gunman wearing tactical gear and wielding a semiautomatic rifle opened fire in November 2017, at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, a tiny town of 600 east of San Antonio.

At least 26 parishioners were killed in the attack. Victims ranged in age from 18 months to 72 years. The gunman was found dead after a brief car chase.

The shooting supplanted the 2015 shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina, church as the deadliest mass shooting to take place at a house of worship in the United States.


Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 14, 2012 — 26 dead, two wounded

AP Photo/Jessica HillCarlee Soto uses a phone to get information about her sister, Victoria Soto, a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., after gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 people inside the school, including 20 children. Victoria Soto, 27, was among those killed.

Twenty students and six teachers were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. Each student casualty was between the ages of 6 and 7.

Minutes before he went to the school, the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, fatally shot his mother at their home. Lanza committed suicide as first responders arrived at the school.


Killeen, Texas, October 16, 1991 — 23 dead, 27 wounded

AP Photo/Rick McFarlandPolice officers gather outside Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, at the scene where a gunman killed 23 people including himself, with semi-automatic gunfire.

In 1991, George Hennard drove his pickup truck through the glass front window of a Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, Texas, and began a shooting rampage on patrons and staff inside.

He killed 23 people and injured 27 more before fatally shooting himself.


San Ysidro, California, July 18, 1984 — 20 dead, 16 wounded

AP Photo/Greg VojtkoA woman is removed on a stretcher at the scene of a shooting rampage at a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, Calif., July 19, 1984.

James Huberty, 41, shot 36 people at a McDonald’s restaurant in the San Ysidro district of San Diego in 1984. The casualties included an 8-month-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, and the wounded included a 4-month-old girl.

The rampage ended when Huberty was shot by a San Diego SWAT Team sniper perched on a nearby roof. The shooting prompted changes to the police department in how it responded to mass-shooter scenarios.


Parkland, Florida, February 14, 2018 — 17 dead, 17 wounded

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesPeople are brought out of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school.

Gunman and former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, shot and killed 17 people and injured 17 more, armed with at least one AR-15.

The dead included students and adults. Cruz was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

“It’s a horrific situation. It’s just a horrible day for us,” Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. “It’s a day that you pray every day that you get up that you will never have to see. It is in front of us, and I ask the community for your prayers, your support for these children and these families.”

Many of the student survivors became outspoken activists for gun control legislation, launching the March for Our Lives movement.


El Paso, August 3, 2019 – 22 dead, 24 wounded

Police have charged 21-year-old Patrick Crusius with capital murder in the shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019. At least 22 people were killed and 24 were injured.

Police say Crusius, who lived 650 miles away from the Walmart, posted a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto on 8chan, an online message board. It appeared 20 minutes before the attacks, and talks about a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” and turning Texas into a “Democrat stronghold.”

The shooting is being treated as domestic terrorism and prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty.


University of Texas-Austin, August 1, 1966 — 15 dead, 31 wounded

Screenshot/NBCA frame from a newscast reporting the mass shooting at the University of Texas on August 1, 1966.

On a hot summer day in 1966, a military-trained sniper shot dozens of people from the observation deck of the University of Texas’s main building, known as the Tower.

The shooting lasted more than 90 minutes, as officers responding to the attack were forced to move slowly and take cover often. Police got assistance from Texas students, who attempted to pick off the shooter from the ground with hunting rifles, restricting him to shoot through drain spouts for much of the attack.

Local police officers stormed the Tower and fatally shot the gunman. The incident spurred the creation of SWAT teams, and has drawn comparisons to the Las Vegas shooting because of the gunman’s high vantage point.


Read more:
A policeman who helped end one of the deadliest school shootings in US history relives the massacre


San Bernardino, California, December 2, 2015 — 14 dead, 22 wounded

KNBC via APArmoured vehicles surround an SUV following a shootout in San Bernardino, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.

In 2015, married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire at Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, where Farook worked as a health inspector. Police said the couple also planted three homemade pipe bombs in the building, though they failed to detonate.

The couple fled the scene in a vehicle and were killed by police four hours later. The FBI found that the two US citizens were “homegrown violent extremists” and were inspired by foreign terrorist groups.


Edmond, Oklahoma, August 20, 1986 — 14 dead, 7 wounded

AP Photo/David LongstreathAn postal worker in Edmond, Okla. weeps following a shooting spree at the post office in 1986.

Part-time mail carrier Patrick Sherrill shot 21 postal workers, killing 14 of them, at a US Post Office in Edmond, Oklahoma, in 1986. The attack ended when Sherrill fatally shot himself in the head.

The gruesome attack was the first of a string of homicides by postal workers between 1986 and 1999, and inspired the expression “going postal.”


Fort Hood, Texas, November 5, 2009 — 13 dead, 30 wounded

AP Photo/Jack PlunkettSgt. Anthony Sills, right, comforts his wife as they wait outside the Fort Hood Army Base near Killeen, Texas on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009.

In 2009, Nidal Hasan, a US Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people and wounded 30 others at Ford Hood, an army base near Killeen, Texas. It was the deadliest mass shooting to take place on a US military base.

A civilian police sergeant shot Hasan, paralyzing him from the waist down and ending the shooting. Hasan was sentenced to death in 2013 and remains in prison to this day.

Five years later, in 2014, Fort Hood was the site of a shooting spree that left three people dead and 14 wounded.


Thousand Oaks, California, November 7, 2018 – 13 dead, 18 injured

Ian David Long, a 28-year-old Marine Corps veteran, shot and killed 12 people and injured 18 at a country bar in Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles, on November 7, 2018.

At about 11 p.m. with a .45-calibre handgun that had been legally purchased, police said he shot a security guard, several employees, then opened fire inside the bar. It was estimated there were between 130 and 180 people in the bar.

He also killed a deputy sheriff before he killed himself.


Virginia Beach, Virginia, May 31, 2019 – 12 dead, four wounded

Patrick Semansky / APA makeshift memorial by a police cordon in front of a municipal building that was the scene of the shooting.

Police said public utilities employee DeWayne Craddock, 40, killed 12 people, after he opened fire on multiple levels of a municipal center in Virginia Beach, where he had worked for 15 years. Eleven of the victims were employees.

He had a semi-automatic pistol with a sound suppressor, and a rifle, and engaged in a gun fight with police. He was shot dead at the scene.


Tree of Life Synagogue, Pittsburgh, October 27, 2018 – 11 dead, six wounded

Armed with an assault rifle and three handguns, police said 46-year-old truck driver Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue and killed 11 people on October 27, 2018.

When he was arrested, Bowers told officers that “all Jews need to die.” He was a frequent user of a social network called Gab, which attracted people on the right right, where he posted anti-Semitic messages.

It is thought to be the deadliest attack on Jewish people in US history.


Santa Fe High School, Texas, May 18, 2018 – 10 dead, 13 injured

David J. Phillip/APPeople react following a shooting at Santa Fe High School.

On a Friday morning, a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Texas, killing 10 and injuring 13. Authorities charged 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis with capital murder. His trial is still proceeding through the court system.

Police said he used a shotgun and a .38-calibre revolver, both legally owned by his father. Police later found a journal that outlined Pagourtzis’ plan for his attack and later suicide, but he ended up being taken into custody.

Police also discovered four pipe bombs at the high school, and a Molotov cocktail at his house.


Dayton, Ohio, August 4, 2019 – nine dead, 27 wounded

John Minchillo / APThe scene of a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

Less than 24 hours after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, a gunman opened fire at a bar in Dayton, Ohio, in the early hours of Sunday morning. The shooting took place at Ned Peppers Bar, in Dayton’s entertainment district, with an assault-style rifle, which could hold 100 rounds, police said. Authorities identified the gunman as 24-year-old Connor Betts from Bellbrook, Ohio. Nine people, including Betts’ sister, were killed in the attack. Another 27 were injured.

To escape the gunfire, people pushed down gates and were trampled. Dayton’s police chief said officers killed Betts within 30 seconds of him beginning to shoot. It’s unclear what prompted the shooting.

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