20/07/2012 11:13 BST

Aurora Shooting: Tragedy Joins List Of Catastrophic American Massacres

The killing of at least 12 people at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight in Aurora, Colorado is the latest in a long line of tragic mass shootings in America.

Aurora is within 20 miles from Columbine, Colorado, where two teenagers opened fire at their school, killing 12 schoolmates, one of their teachers and themselves in 1999.

It comes five years after 32 people were killed at Virginia Tech campus, the Washington DC sniper attacks and 2011's incident in Tucson, Arizona where six people, including a young girl, were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at close range.

gabrielle giffords

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shot to the head

The most prominent American mass shootings in recent history:

2007 - Virginia Tech university student Seung-Hui Cho kills 32 and wounded a further 15, before taking his own life. It remains the deadliest mass shooting of its kind in the country

1999 - Columbine High School students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold enter their school with handguns, semi-automatics, knives and explosives and kill 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves

2009 - 13 soldiers die and more than 40 are wounded as army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opens fire at Fort Hood, Texas

2002 - In the nation's capital, Washington D.C. and neighbour states Maryland and Virginia, two men spend three weeks roaming in a Chevrolet sedan and randomly targeting civilians, killing 10 people.

2011 - Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is seriously wounded by a gunshot wound to the head and six are killed, including a young girl, in an attack in Tucson, Arizona