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Data: How many mass school shootings have taken place in U.S. since 1999?




AN 18-year-old gunman, on May 24, 2022, stormed Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, fatally shooting 19 children and two teachers, before being shot dead by police, casting a spotlight on cases of shootings in schools, teenage shooters and gun violence in the United States.

Twenty-three years before the Robb Elementary School shooting, There was a shooting in what is now referred to as the Columbine High School massacre where an 18 and 17-year-old gunman murdered 13 people, – 12 students and one teacher. It was the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history at that time.

The Uvalde massacre is the latest in a years-long series of mass shootings in the U.S., which according to a tally by the Washington Post, is the second deadliest U.S. school shootings in 23 years after the 2013 Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings that led to 26 killed and two injured people.

The country has witnessed a depressing figure of 338 shootings between 1999 and 2022, with at least 185 children, educators and other people killed in assaults and another 369 injured.

The Washington Post, which has spent years tracking school shootings since the Columbine High massacre in 1999, stated that more than 311,000 children at 331 schools had been exposed to gun violence during school hours.

The Washington Post said it pieced together its numbers from news articles, open-source databases, law enforcement reports and calls to schools and police departments because at the time the U.S. government was not tracking school shootings. However, in 2018 Homeland security started tracking, with datasets dating back to 1970.

The ICIR looks at some cases of mass shootings at elementary, middle and high schools that have resulted in at least four fatalities since 1999.

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In the data collated by Washington Post, 338 shooting incidents have been recorded under the years in review. In contrast, out of the provided tally, teenagers (age 13 to 19) were recorded to have carried out the highest number of shootings at 183 from 253 age recorded incidents, excluding 86 cases where the shooter’s age is unknown.

School Shooting infographics

According to the Post, the ranks of school shooters include a 6-year-old boy, who killed a classmate after saying he didn’t like her, and a 15-year-old girl, who did the same to a friend for rejecting her romantic overtures.

Defining gun violence in the U.S.

There is no consensus on how to define what mass killings mean in the U.S., but two widely used definitions are by Mass Shooting Tracker and Gun Violence Archive (GVA).

Gun Violence Archive (GVA), a nonprofit research group, defines mass shootings as involving four or more shots (injured or killed) in a single incident, at the same general time and location, not including the shooter.

Mass Shooting Tracker, a research group that crowd-sourced the database of U.S. mass shootings defines a mass shooting as an incident where four or more people are shot in a single shooting spree. This may include the gunman himself, or police shootings of civilians around the gunman.

Based on Gun Violence Archive and Mass Shooting Tracker definitions, 26 mass school shooting incidents were recorded across the U.S. between 1999 and 2022, resulting in 290 casualties.

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According to The Washington Post, which has tracking mass school shootings in the U.S. since 1999, some of the deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. schools include:

Columbine high school shooting

In 1999, two teenagers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, aged 18 and 17, murdered 12 students and one teacher and injured 21 people at the Columbine High School, Colorado. At the time, it was the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history.

Red lake senior high school shooting

A 16-year-old Jeff Weise in 2005 drove his grandfather’s car to the Red Lake Senior High School, Red Lake, Minnesota after killing his grandfather and his girlfriend at their home shot and killed seven people at the school and wounding five others. It was at the time, the deadliest school shooting in the United States since the Columbine High School massacre.’

West Nickel Mines School shooting

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In 2006, a 32-year-old milk truck driver, Charles Carl Roberts IV armed with an arsenal of weapons, ammunition, tools and other items including toilet paper, fatally shoots five female students of the West Nickel Mines School in a village in Bart Township, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and wounded five more before turning his gun on himself and dying by suicide.

Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

In 2012, a Twenty-year-old student, Adam Lanza, was carrying an arsenal of hundreds of rounds of deadly ammunition and killed 20 children and six school staff members of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, within 10 minutes.

Before venturing into the school, he shot his mother four times in the head; all six adults were women. Of the 20 children, eight were boys, and 12 were girls. All the children were 6 or 7 years old.

US School Shooting infographics

Marysville Pilchuck High School

In 2014, a 15-year-old first-year student Jaylen Fryberg shot five other students at Marysville Pilchuck High School located in Marysville, Washington fatally wounding four, before shooting himself.

Fryberg died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the scene. A second victim died of her injuries two days later; a third died on October 31. A fourth victim died on November 7, bringing the total fatalities to five, including the gunman.

Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

In 2018, an expelled 19-year-old boy, Nikolas Cruz opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at his former high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and wounding 17 others.

The shooting at the time became the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history.

Santa Fe High School shooting

In 2018, 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis murdered ten people – eight students and two teachers, with thirteen others wounded at the Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Oxford High School Shooting

Four people were killed in November 2021 when a 15-year-old second-year student, Ethan Crumbley, during a mass shooting at Oxford High School in the Detroit exurb of Oxford Township, Michigan. Seven people aside, those killed were injured, including a teacher.

Robb Elementary school Shooting

An 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, opened fire on the 24th of May, 2022 at Robb Elementary School shooting, Texas killing at least 19 children and two adults as he went from classroom to classroom.

U.S. officials say the shooting is the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade and the latest gruesome moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres.

The attacker was later killed by law enforcement.

Author profile

Olayinka works with The ICIR as the Social Media Manager, Reporter and Fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via oshehu@icirnigeria.org. You can as well follow him on Twitter via @ShehuOlayinka1

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