NEWS
20/04/2019 09:50 BST | Updated 24/04/2019 11:25 BST

'Never Again'? – The 10 Worst US Mass School Shootings Since The 1999 Columbine Massacre

There has been an average of 10 school shootings a year since.

“Never again.”

Those were the words uttered by politicians, teachers and parents of the victims of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in 1999.

But 20 years on, nothing appears to have changed – “never again” has become a tired mantra repeated in the wake of nearly 200 school shootings committed since – 10 a year on average.

Three of them surpassed the death toll at Columbine, which claimed the lives of 15 people, including the two shooters.

Statista

These are the ten worst mass school shootings since Columbine. They have claimed a total of 128 lives.

Red Lake Senior High School

Date: 21 March 2005

Number of dead: 10 including the shooter

Number of injured: Five

On the morning of 21 March 2005, 16-year-old Jeffery Weise shot dead his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend then drove to Red Lake Senior High School in Minnesota.

Reuters Photographer / Reuters
Police forensic vans sit outside of Red Lake Senior High School the day after the shooting.

He entered the school via the main entrance where he shot and killed a security guard before opening fire in an English classroom. Witnesses said he was smiling as he shot people.

One student, 16-year-old Jeffrey May, managed to stab Weise in the stomach with a pencil which gave others the chance to flee. May was subsequently shot in the neck and jaw and seriously injured.

After police arrived a shootout ensued. Weise went back into the school and shot himself dead in an empty classroom.

The dead included six students aged 15 or 16, the security guard and a 62-year-old English teacher.

 

West Nickel Mines School

Date: 2 October 2006

Number of dead: Six including the shooter

Number of injured: Five

West Nickel Mines was a small Amish school in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. On 2 October 2006, Charles Carl Roberts, 32, entered the one-room school, pretending to be looking for a missing part for his pick up truck.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
The field that once was the location of the West Nickel Mines Amish School.

After returning to his vehicle to get a 9mm handgun, Roberts reentered the school and took ten girls hostage, letting all the boys and a pregnant woman leave.

After a stand-off with police that lasted around 40 minutes, shots were heard from inside the building. Roberts had lined up his hostages and shot them in the back of the head at close range.

Thirteen shots were fired in all, the last one being Roberts killing himself.

Five of the girls, who were aged between six and 13, died and the rest were seriously injured.

Roberts called his wife shortly before the shooting and said he was “acting out in revenge for something that happened 20 years ago” and was “dreaming about molesting children again”, according to police.

The Amish community was widely praised in the wake of the massacre, for emphasising forgiveness and the “letting go of grudges”.

The school was later demolished and a new one built in its place.

 

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Date: 16 April 2007

Number of dead: 33 including the shooter

Number of injured: 23

Seung-Hui Cho, an undergraduate at Virginia Tech, used to semi-automatic pistols to shoot 49 people, killing 32 of them.

Two of the deaths occurred in a halls of residence on the campus, after which Cho went to his room, changed out of his bloodstained clothes and is then thought to have thrown his computer hard drive into a pond.

He then visited a nearby post office where he emailed a package to NBC News.

Around two hours after the shootings in the halls of residence, he entered a hall and chained the doors shut before entering a number of classrooms and firing upon professors and teachers.

The package received by NBC contained a 1,800 word manifesto and 27 videos in which Cho compared himself to Jesus and said: ”You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. ... You just loved to crucify me.”

CHRIS KEANE / Reuters
A photograph of one of the Virginia Tech students killed is shown among remembrances on a memorial on the campus in 2007.

It remains the deadliest mass school shooting in US history.

 

Northern Illinois University

Date: 14 February 2008 

Number of dead: Six including the shooter

Number of injured: 21

On the afternoon of 14 February 2008, Steven Kazmierczak entered a large lecture hall armed with a shotgun and three pistols and immediately opened fire.

Kamil Krzaczynski / Reuters
Crosses bearing the names of shooting victims placed on a hill overlooking the campus of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.

After unloading the six rounds the shotgun held, he then fired 48 times from the pistols he was carrying.

He shot and killed himself before police arrived at the scene. Six students aged from 19 to 32 were killed.

Statista

Oikos University

Date: 2 April 2012

Number of dead: Seven

Number of injured: Three

Armed with a semi-automatic handgun, 43-year-old One L Goh stood up during a lesson at the Korean Christian Oikos University and shouted: “Get in line ... I’m going to kill you all!”

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Efanye Chibuko touches a picture of his wife Doris during a memorial service at Oikos University the week after the attack.

He then opened fire, killing seven people and injuring three others. As he fled the campus in a car belonging to one of his victims, he continued to fire his weapon but did not hit anyone.

Goh gave himself up to police a number of hours later. He died in jail last month, having been sentenced to 271 years with no chance of parole.

 

Sandy Hook Elementary School

Date: 14 December 2012

Number of dead: 28 including the shooter

Number of injured: Two

On a Friday morning, 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy, at their home in the town of Newton, Connecticut.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
A memorial bearing 26 crosses for each victim on the one-year anniversary of the massacre.

He then drove his mother’s car to the Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot dead 20 children aged just six and seven, and six teaching staff.

Just a few minutes after the shooting began, Lanza shot himself dead.

Lanza was armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle that allowed him to fire 156 rounds in under five minutes.

Most of the victims were shot whilst grouped together in classrooms in attempt to hide from the gunman.

One child who survived the massacre told police she heard a boy shout “Help me! I don’t want to be here!” to which Lanza responded, “Well, you’re here,” followed by gunshots.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
President Barack Obama wipes a tear running down his cheek as he talks about victims of the Sandy Hook shootings in a speech on gun control in 2016.

It remains the deadliest high school or grade school shooting in US history.

 

Marysville Pilchuck High School

Date: 24 October 2014

Number of dead: Five including the shooter

Number of injured: Three

At lunchtime on 24 October 2014, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg sat down at a table in the cafeteria of Marysville Pilchuck High School.

Earlier that day he had invited a number of his friends to eat with him. They were sat at a different table which he then approached.

After an argument, he pulled out a handgun and, with “a blank stare”, fired eight shots at them before shooting himself dead.

Five students all aged either 14 or 15 were killed.

It later transpired that minutes before the shooting he had text messaged family members of his victims, apologising for what he was about to do.

Fryberg’s motive remains unknown.

 

Umpqua Community College

Date: 1 October 2015

Number of dead: 10 including the shooter

Number of injured: Eight

In the deadliest mass shooting in Oregon’s history 26-year-old student Chris Harper-Mercer entered an English classroom at Umpqua Community College and fired a warning shot.

Amanda Loman / Reuters

He forced the students and an assistant teacher into the centre of the room before opening fire. Witnesses claimed he asked if his victims were Christian or not, telling those that replied “yes” that he was sending them to heaven as he shot them.

Harper-Mercer deliberately spared one student so they could deliver a package to police, making them sit at the back of the room and watch the killings.

Minutes after the shooting began, two police officers arrived and engaged Harper-Mercer in a firefight, wounding him.

He then made his way into another classroom and shot himself dead.

It later transpired Harper-Mercer left a rambling and racist manifesto in which he complained about being a virgin and of having no friends.

He also proclaimed that his “success in Hell is assured”.

Statista

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Date: 14 February 2018 

Number of dead: 17

Number of injured: 17

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz was an expelled student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Florida when he committed the worst high school shooting in US history.

Carlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters
An empty chair is seen in front of flowers and mementoes placed on a fence to commemorate the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

He was described by fellow students as “super stressed out all the time and talked about guns a lot and tried to hide his face”.

A number of warning signs presented themselves before the massacre, including a YouTube video posted by an account bearing the shooter’s name a year earlier about becoming a school shooter.

Despite this as well as a number of other tips received by authorities, Cruz was able to buy the semi-automatic assault rifle he used to kill 17 people in just six minutes.

14 students aged from 14 to 18 were killed along with three staff members. All three died trying to protect their students.

The massacre prompted yet another call for a change in gun regulations with some of the survivors founding the Never Again MSD, a student-led movement calling for gun control.

Cruz is currently on trial for the 17 murders and has said he will plead guilty for a life sentence.

 

Santa Fe High School 

Date: 18 May 2018

Number of dead: 10

Number of injured: 14 including the suspected shooter

Early on the morning of 14 May last year, a teenager walked into a classroom at Santa Fe High School, pointed at a students and said: “I’m going to kill you.”

Over the course of 25 minutes and using a shotgun, he killed 10 students as they tried to barricade themselves in a room. The victims ranged in age from 14 to 64.

The shooter was wounded in a subsequent firefight with police and arrested.

He was later identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the high school.

(Infographics supplied by Statista)