Mass Shooting Timeline: The American History Of Massacres

Mass Shooting Timeline: The American History Of Massacres2018-06-19T08:26:53+00:00
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On this page, you'll find a timeline of mass shootings, events that shocked the nation, drove legislative change and left thousands of grieving families to mourn the tragic loss of their loved ones. You'll also learn about the ways that family members and mass shooting survivors pursue accountability and justice through filing civil lawsuits.

WARNING - The following contains graphic descriptions of violence. Please navigate to another page if you do not wish to read this content.

A Timeline Of Notable Mass Shootings In America

June 11, 2018 - Orlando, Florida

35-year-old Gary Wayne Lindsey Jr. murdered his four young children after a day-long standoff with law enforcement officials. Lindsey had a long history of domestic violence, criminal activity and abuse; he was described as "violent, unpredictable and paranoid" in a 2014 police report that landed him in a mental health treatment center.

In 2008, he burned down the house of his ex-girlfriend, saying the residence would be his "grave." And he was merciless with his wife. He'd beaten her the day he took the lives of his four children - Aidain, 6, Dove, only 1-year-old, 10-year-old Lillia and Irayan, 12. Police officer Kevin Valencia, responding to the wife's calls for help, was shot and wounded in the stand-off with Lindsey, which lasted nearly 24 hours.

May 18, 2018 - Santa Fe, Texas

17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis opened fire at Santa Fe High School, murdering 10 people, mostly other students, and injuring at least 13 others. Pagourtzis was armed with a shotgun and a revolver. He surrendered to police after learning that he did not have the courage to shoot himself. Explosive devices planted by Pagourtzis were discovered inside and around the school.

April 22, 2018 - Antioch, Tennessee

On Sunday, April 22, 29-year-old Travis Reinking approached a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch wielding an assault-style rifle. He was naked expect for a jacket. Reinking shot 2 people outside the diner before entering it. Inside, he opened fire, then was tackled and disarmed by James Shaw Jr.

Reinking fled, returning to his home, police believe, to put on some pants. He was arrested soon after while attempting to hide himself in the woods. In all, Reinking murdered 4 people and injured 4 others. He is being held on $2 million bail.

In the wake of the attack, James Shaw Jr., who stopped Reinking in the Waffle House, has been hailed as a hero. In an interview with WKRN, Shaw said, "I just knew it was me or him. I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was doing it to save myself. I wasn't Terminator or Superman. I figured if I was going to die, he was going to have to work for it. So I rushed him."

February 14, 2018 - Parkland, Florida

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people, including 14 students, and wounded 17 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was arrested close by; he has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

Police Line With Cruiser

The Parkland tragedy sparked a national movement for stricter gun control, and the Broward County Sheriff's Department has come under harsh criticism for failing to adequately address Cruz's history of troubling behavior prior to the massacre. The father of at least one victim has filed a wrongful death suit against Scot Peterson, the school resource officer who stood outside the school building as shots were fired.

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November 5, 2017 - Sutherland Springs, Texas

Wielding an assault-style rifle, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, murdering 26 parishioners and wounding 20 others.

Kelley, a former Air Force officer, had a long history of violent assault, including one incident in which he fractured his infant stepson's skull, and was held at a mental institution for some before escaping. Recent reporting has revealed that the Air Force failed to record disciplinary actions taken against Kelley, which would have prevented him from purchasing a gun. Kelley killed himself after being pursued by police.

September 10, 2017 - Plano, Texas

After drinking heavily at a local bar, James Hight entered the home of his estranged wife Meredith armed with a large knife and a gun. He proceeded to murder six of the friends who had gathered at the home for a Dallas Cowboys watching party, injuring two others before police responded and killed him. One of the injured victims later died at the hospital.

A civil lawsuit has been filed by the victims' families, accusing The Local Public House of over-serving Hight prior to the massacre. A report from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission corroborates the lawsuit's allegations. In its report, the alcohol licensing commission uses video footage from the bar's security system to conclude that Hight was heavily-intoxicated but continued to receive alcohol in violation of Texas law.

A bartender, Lindsey Glass, noticed that Hight had a large knife out as he sat at the bar, which is also illegal. Hight reportedly told the bartender that hd "had some dirty work to do." Apparently, he showed a second bartender, his friend, that he had a gun. The second bartender called his boss but, according to statements he later made to police, the ownership of the bar "advised [him] not to call the police." Hight then left the bar, went to his estranged wife's home and proceeded to murder 7 people.

October 1, 2017 - Las Vegas, Nevada

Nearly 60 people were killed when a shooter opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest festival, a country music festival held on the Las Vegas Strip. Over 850 people suffered injuries in the attack, which lasted just over 10 minutes.

The shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, was found dead in a room of the Mandalay Bay Hotel. A right wing conspiracy theorist, Paddock had barricaded himself in the room with 23 rifles, a handgun and piles of ammunition. He had planned the shooting meticulously, reporters say, hiding out in his hotel room for 3 days before the festival began. Paddock placed a baby monitor on a cart outside the room's door to monitor the comings and goings of hotel staff, who had not entered the room because the man had placed a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door handle.

The families of numerous victims have filed suit against Mandalay Bay, accusing the company of failing to provide the festival with adequate security.

June 5, 2017 - Orlando, Florida

John Robert Neumann Jr., 45, shoots and kills 5 people working at Fiamma Inc., an awning company near Orlando, Florida. Neumann, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gun shot wound at the scene, was fired from the company a month earlier.

January 6, 2017 - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Prosecutors say Esteban Santiago, a 26-year-old Iraq war veteran, opened fire at a luggage carousel at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, killing 5 people and injuring 6 more. Santiago retrieved his gun from a checked bag, opened fire, then lay down on the ground and surrendered to Broward County police officers. He has pled guilty, receiving a life sentence in prison.

September 23, 2016 - Burlington, Washington

20-year-old Arcan Cetin stole a semi-automatic Ruger .22 rifle from his stepfather, walked into a Seattle Macy's store and killed five people, four shoppers and an employee at the store's cosmetics section.

Facing charges of first-degree murder, Cetin killed himself in prison in April 2017.

June 12, 2016 - Orlando, Florida

49 people were killed and 58 suffered severe injuries when 29-year-old Omar Mateen opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. After taking hostages, Mateen was shot and killed by members of a SWAT team who stormed the club. Mateen swore fealty to the Islamic State's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a 911 call placed during the shooting. He was investigated on suspicion of terrorist links by the FBI in 2013 and again in 2014.

December 2, 2015 - San Bernardino, California

A married couple murdered 14 and wounded 22 others at the Inland Regional Center, a community center for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were both killed in a shootout with police shortly after. Malik posted a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Facebook prior to the massacre, suggesting that she and her husband had been radicalized.

October 1, 2015 - Roseburg, Oregon

26-year-old Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer murdered eight students and a teacher at Umpqua Community College, then shot himself after a brief gun battle with law enforcement. Harper-Mercer, a recent transplant from California, was a "hate-filled" young man, police say, having flirted with white supremacy in the past. He reportedly suffered from a mental health disorder and owned at least 14, legally-purchased firearms.

July 16, 2015 - Chattanooga, Tennessee

Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez opened fire at a military recruiting office, then drove to a separate location, a Naval-Marine training center, where his massacre continued. Abdulazeez murdered four Marines and a Naval officer before being killed himself by officers at the training facility.

June 18, 2015 - Charleston, South Carolina

White supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine parishioners during a Bible Study group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historic black church in Charleston. After fleeing from the scene, Roof was arrested 245 miles away in North Carolina. He has been sentenced to death for his crimes.

Roof purchased the Glock .45-caliber handgun used in the shooting at a local retailer in West Columbia, despite a prior conviction for possessing a controlled substance that should have disqualified him from buying a firearm. The error has been blamed on "lapses" in the FBI's background check system.

May 23, 2014 - Isla Vista, California

Elliot Rodger, a 22-year-old violent misogynist, went on a killing spree, first stabbing to death 3 men in his apartment, then went to a sorority house on the campus of the University of California Santa Barbara, where he murdered two sorority sisters and severely injured another. He then drove through the city, firing at random through the entrances of various businesses, including a 7-Eleven where 3 more people were hit by shots. After careening through Santa Barbara and firing on multiple locations, Rodger's body, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was found by police inside his car. He murdered six people and injured 14 others.

In the wake of the massacre, police and the internet discovered Rodger's manifesto, "My Twisted World: The Story of Elliot Rodger," a rambling manuscript in which the young murderer described his raging hatred for women.

Rodger has become a perverse "hero" for the "incel" movement, a loose group of young men who feel spurned by attractive women, often advocate violence against them and revile "Chads" and "Stacies," young people with more active sex lives. "Incel" is short for "involuntary celibate."

April 2, 2014 - Ft. Hood, Texas

Three people were killed and 11 left with severe injuries when Ivan Lopez, an enlisted soldier, began shooting at Ft. Hood, a military base north of Austin, Texas. Lopez killed himself during the attack, after driving through the base, shooting at other soldiers as he went.

February 21, 2014 - Alturas, California

Four people died and 2 were wounded when Cherie Lash Rhoades opened fire at a tribal meeting on the Cedarville Rancheria, a small settlement of the Northern Paiute people 30 miles south of Oregon. The community council's members were debating whether to evict Rhoades from her home. At the time, she was under investigation for embezzling $50,000 in federal funds intended for the tribe. Among the dead in Rhoades' gun and knife attack were 3 of her relatives, including her 19-year-old niece, Angel Penn.

September 16, 2013 - Washington, D.C.

Navy contractor Aaron Alexis killed 12 people in a "running firefight" with police officers through the Washington Navy Yard. Alexis, who was once an enlisted Naval officer, is shot and killed by law enforcement. He had a long and checkered disciplinary record, including several instances of insubordination.

June 7, 2013 - Santa Monica, California

John Zawahri, a 23-year-old, killed two men in his home, set the building on fire, then took his AR-15 style weapon (assembled from components purchased online), stopped a female driver at gunpoint and forced her to drive him to Santa Monica College.

Along the way, Zawahri shot at passengers in a bus from the window of the commandeered vehicle, injuring three people. Once on campus, he got out of the vehicle and shot into a parked Ford Explorer, killing a 68-year-old man instantly and leaving a passenger with fatal wounds. He shot and killed another woman outside the college library before being killed himself by law enforcement officials.

Investigators have attributed the rampage to a familial dispute, but teachers at Olympic High School became aware in 2006 that Zawahri had been researching how to make a bomb. He had frequently threatened his peers at the school, along with teachers and campus resource officers. Police officers found explosive materials in Zawahri's house.

December 14, 2012 - Newtown, Connecticut

20-year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother at the home they shared, then stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 first graders and six adult staff members. Lanza fatally shot himself at the scene, after committing the deadliest school shooting in American history.

Investigators have determined that Lanza's horrific actions were premeditated, but a firm motive has never been determined, though many observers have pointed to the young man's long-standing mental health issues as a possible contributed factor. The murder weapon, a Bushmaster XM-15 assault-style rifle, was owned by Lanza's mother.

September 28, 2012 - Minneapolis, Minnesota

In another tragic instance of workplace violence, 36-year-old Andrew Engeldinger breaks into the office of his former employer, Accent Signage Systems, and kills the company's owner and five employees.

August 5, 2012 - Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Wade Michael Page, a military veteran who specialized in "psychological operations," opened fire at a Sikh temple, fatally wounding six people. After receiving a demotion, Page, who played in a white supremacist band, was discharged from the Army in 1998. He was shot and killed by a police officer at the scene.

July 20, 2012 - Aurora, Colorado

A mentally-disturbed 24-year-old who had been "obsessed with killing for over a decade," James Holmes, entered a Century 16 screening room during a showing of The Dark Night Rises, threw several smoke grenades and opened fire.

He murdered 12 people, injuring another 70. He was arrested shortly afterwards, "calm and detached," according to reports, standing beside his car. After an insanity defense argument failed, Holmes was convicted on 24 counts of murder and 140 counts of attempted murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

April 2, 2012 - Oakland, California

Seven people died, and 3 more were wounded, when One L. Goh started firing at Oikos University, a small Korean Christian university near Oakland International Airport.

Goh, a former student at the school, surrendered himself to law enforcement at a Safeway supermarket several hours after opening fire. He was convicted on 7 counts of murder and 3 counts of attempted murder, and sentenced to 7 consecutive life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole.

January 8, 2011 - Tucson, Arizona

After being suspended from Pima Community College, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner attempted to kill Gabrielle Giffords, then-Democratic House Representative. In the process of his assassination attempt, Loughner murdered six people, including a 9-year-old girl. He injured 13 others.

Loughner, a longstanding conspiracy theorist, harbored a particular distaste for Giffords, despite holding to an initially-progressive political ideology. A form letter from Giffords' office, in response to Loughner's question, "what is government if words have no meaning?", was scrawled with the words, "assassination plans have been made." Loughner hated women in positions of power, according to reports from his former friends.

He pleaded guilty to 19 charges of murder and attempted murder, receiving 7 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.

February 12, 2010 - Huntsville, Alabama

A biology professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville pulled out a 9-mm handgun during a meeting of the university's biology department and began shooting. Witnesses who survived say that Amy Bishop, then $$ years old, carried out her merciless attack in execution style, taking head shots one-by-one down a row of her colleagues.

She had been denied tenure the year before, making the Spring 2010 semester her last at UA. A former friend says Bishop had written 3 unpublished novels, including one story in which a female scientist solves a herpes pandemic while struggling with suicidal thoughts about not securing tenure. Former colleagues described her as "crazy" before the attack.

A Harvard Ph.D. in genetics, Bishop pleaded guilty to the crime, receiving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. In 1986, she had killed her brother with a shotgun, but the death was mysteriously ruled an accident by law enforcement officials.

She was also investigated in connection to a 1993 case, in which Paul Rosenberg, a professor at Harvard Medical School and Bishop's supervisor at Boston Children's Hospital, received two pipe bombs in the mail. The bombs failed to explode; the investigation into Bishop's involvement was closed due to lack of evidence.

April 3, 2009 - Binghamton, New York

Jiverly Antares Wong (occasionally written as Voong) walked into the American Civic Association, an immigration help center, and murdered 13 people, injuring 4 others, using 2 Beretta handguns. Wong had taken English language classes at the center for 3 months before dropping out.

It was a planned attack; Wong had blocked the building's rear exit with a vehicle and entered wearing a bullet-proof vest. A receptionist, who was shot in the stomach, then feigned death to avoid scrutiny from Wong, was able to call 911 during the attack. Wong took an ESL class hostage, then shot and killed himself as police officers surrounded the building.

A Taliban leader, Baituallah Mehsud, took responsibility for the massacre, but his claim was quickly dismissed as false. Mehsud had said, "they were my men." Wong was a lone shooter. A confession letter, sent by Wong to a local TV station several days before the shooting, suggests that Wong was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. He writes of secret police officers breaking into his house, mysteriously switching the TV channel he's watching, burning chemicals in his home and making him vomit.

February 14, 2008 - DeKalb, Illinois

During an oceanography lecture at Northern Illinois University, 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak burst into Cole Hall wearing a black T-shirt, the word "Terrorist" emblazed over the image of an assault-style rifle, and armed with 3 handguns. He held a 12-gauge shotgun, concealed in a guitar case, at his side.

Kazmierczak started firing immediately, walking through the aisles of seats as students and the class' instructor struggled to escape. Then he committed suicide, bringing the death toll of his massacre to 6. Another 17 students, out of the 120 present for the lecture, suffered injuries in the attack. Kazmierczak had been a graduate student in the university's social work program at the time.

Three weeks before the shooting, it is believed that Kazmierczak had stopped taking his medications. He had been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a condition that causes paranoid ideation and hallucinations, in his teens. "The degree of self-destruction and antisocial behavior at the end, of really scary behaviors, was just phenomenal," says David Vann, who wrote a book about the massacre.

December 5, 2007 - Omaha, Nebraska

19-year-old Robert Hawkins murdered 8 people and injured 4 more shooting through the Westroads Mall with a semi-automatic rifle. He eventually committed suicide on the mall's third floor, next to the customer service desk. The police arrived after Hawkins had shot and killed himself. Prior to the massacre, Hawkins wrote several suicide letters. As a teen, Hawkins spent several years in foster and various treatment centers after threatening to kill his stepmother.

April 16, 2007 - Blacksburg, Virginia

Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, brought two semi-automatic handguns into a classroom and opened fire. Moments before, he had walked from his dormitory, where he had murdered two classmates, on a killing spree that ultimately claimed 32 lives. He committed suicide as police officers stormed the building of classrooms where most of the massacre took place.

February 12, 2007 - Salt Lake City, Utah

Wearing a beige trench coat and wielding a pump-action shotgun, 18-year-old Sulejman Talović walked from his car toward the Trolley Square Mall. Along the way, he murdered 1 person; 2 others were miraculously able to survive their serious wounds and ran to safety.

Inside the mall, Talović continued on his terrifying rampage, extracting a 38-caliber handgun from his pocket and shooting a 29-year-old woman in the chest. Then he walked into Cabin Fever, a card store, and proceeded to shoot and kill 3 more people, wounding 2 others. As he left Cabin Fever, Talović came under fire himself. An off-duty police officer, Kenneth Hammond, had been eating with his pregnant wife in the mall's food court.

At the same time, Salt Lake City Police Department Sergeant Andrew Oblad, alerted by a 911 call, was entering the mall. Oblad and Hammond traded fire with Talović until a SWAT team arrived and killed the gunman. During his rampage, Talović murdered 5 people and left 4 others with severe injuries. No motive has ever been determined for the attack.

October 2, 2006 - Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania

Around 10:25 in the morning, shortly after the class had come in from recess, Charles Carl Roberts IV walked into the West Nickel Mines School, a one-room Amish schoolhouse, and asked the class if they had seen a piece of farming equipment on the road. The class said, "No," and Roberts walked back to his truck and returned with a handgun. He instructed the boys in the classroom to help him bring some things in from his vehicle. Meanwhile, the school's teacher, Emma Mae Zook, and her mother were able to escape, running to a nearby farmhouse to call the police.

In the schoolhouse, Roberts instructed the boys to bring in a variety of equipment: lumber, wires, chains, a shotgun, a stun-gun and bag that contained toilet paper, candles and a change of clothing. He barricaded the door with boards, then told the students to line up. He allowed all of the boys, along with a pregnant woman and several parents, to leave.

17 minutes after Roberts had entered the school, the first state trooper arrived at the scene. Soon, the tense equilibrium common to all standoffs had taken hold. Police officers communicated with Roberts via the PA systems in their cars; Roberts refused their demands while threatening violence against the girls.

Two extraordinary girls inside the schoolhouse, 11 and 13 years old, asked Roberts to shoot them first, in exchange for sparing the others' lives. A few minutes later, Roberts began shooting. As police officers approached the schoolhouse, the shooting stopped. Roberts had committed suicide, after murdering 5 children and severely wounding 3 others.

January 30, 2006 - Goleta, California

Jennifer San Marco shot and killed her ex-neighbor, Beverly Graham, then drove to the US Postal Service processing center where she had previously worked and murdered 6 of her former co-workers with a handgun. Graham shot and killed herself inside the processing complex.

Writings found in her home suggest that she believed some sort of conspiracy against her was being run out of the Postal Service center. She'd gained notoriety in the town for her odd behavior, which including stripping naked in public. In 2004, she had unsuccessfully applied for a business license to start a publication called "The Racist Press."

March 21, 2005 - Red Lake Indian Reservation, Minnesota

17-year-old Jeffrey James Weise murdered 9 people on March 21, first killing his grandfather and his grandfather's partner at their home on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, then proceeding to the Reservation high school where he fired down hallways and into a classroom, killing 7 more people. He eventually committed suicide.

July 8, 2003 - Meridian, Mississippi

Doug Williams, a Lockheed defense contractor, shot 14 of his co-workers at the company's Meridian manufacturing plant, then turned the Winchester shotgun on himself. Williams murdered 6 of his victims.

He was reportedly enraged because his racist comments had been reported to company management, leading to a mandatory ethics and diversity class on the morning of the shooting. Other witnesses have disputed that motive.

December 6, 2000 - Wakefield, Massachusetts

42-year-old software worker Michael McDermott murdered 7 of his coworkers at his place of employment, Edgewater Technology. Police discovered McDermott sitting calmly, at which point he told them that he did not speak German.

During his criminal trial, McDermott attempted to raise an insanity defense, telling a jury that he had earned his soul by going back in time to kill Hitler. Prosecutors said he was enraged at his employer, who had been garnishing his wages for the IRS.

April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colorado

Two teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, killed 12 of their classmates and a teacher, wounding 26 others, after walking into Columbine High School armed with multiple shotguns, a semiautomatic rifle and several handguns. Harris and Klebold killed themselves after exchanging fire with responding law enforcement officials in the high school's cafeteria.

After the attack, the "grand" design of Harris and Klebold's plot became clear. The young men had planted a fire bomb in a field to divert responding firefighters from the high school, rigged their vehicles to explode in the school's parking lot and planted multiple bombs, fashioned from propane tanks, in the cafeteria.

September 14, 1989 - Louisville, Kentucky

Joseph T. Wesbecker, a pressman at Standard Gravure, murdered 8 of his coworkers and injured 12 others using a semiautomatic AK-47-style rifle.

Opening fire in the company's executive reception area, 47-year-old Wesbecker then calmly patrolled the hallways, shooting at people who were attempting to escape as he searched for the company's president. In the pressroom, Wesbecker pulled out a service pistol and killed himself.

Wesbecker's massacre led to a high-profile civil lawsuit against Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical manufacturer behind Prozac. Wesbecker had begun taking the antidepressant about a month before the shooting. The case, filed by the families of several victims, was rejected by a jury in 1994. The jury found no link between Wesbecker's use of Prozac and his horrific acts.

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