School Shootings: Widely Reported Tragedies Since 2000 - Rolling Stone
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School Shootings: Widely Reported Tragedies Since 2000

You may only hear about the Columbines and Sandy Hooks, but school shootings are a disturbingly regular occurrence

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There's no such this as a minor school shooting. Any incident where students are harmed is an incident too many. Sadly, school shootings have become a horrifically regular occurence. Even more sadly, this list is just a partial one. The following 21st century school shooting incidents drew the most media attention. That a full list is too long to include here is, in itself, a profoundly powerful argument for stricter gun control laws. 

By Kristen Gwynne

University of Arizona, Tucson shooting

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October 28th, 2002, University of Arizona

41-one-year-old Robert Flores, Jr. was said to be failing classes at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, before he shot and killed three of his instructors and then himself. 

Ricori High School

AP Photo/Jim Mone

September 24th, 2003, Rocori High School

15-year-old John Jason McLaughlin pulled a pistol out of gym bag and used it to kill two fellow students, Seth Bartell and Aaron Rollins, at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota. 

red lake shooting


March 21st, 2005, Red Lake High School

16-year-old Jeffrey Weise started his morning at the Red Lake Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota by killing, with a shotgun, his grandfather — a tribal police officer — and his girlfriend in their home. He then opened fire at Red Lake High School, where he killed seven, including a security guard, teacher and five students. Weise exchanged gunfire with police and was wounded before he took his own life in a vacant classroom. Five others were injured in the rampage.

Amish School Shooting

Mike Mergen/Bloomberg News

October 2nd, 2006, Amish Schoolhouse

32-year-old truck driver Charles C. Roberts barricaded the doors in an Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, taking 10 young female students hostage. As cops charged the building, he opened fire on children, shooting ten and killing five girls, ages six to 13, before committing suicide. The devout, close-knit community responded to the tragedy with prayer and forgiveness and has since extended their generosity to Roberts' widow and children. 

Virginia tech shooting

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April 16th, 2007, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A senior and English major at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Seung-Hui Cho wrought terror in Blacksburg, Virginia, when he embarked on a deadly rampage — the largest shooting orchestrated by a single gunman — in the history of The United States. Armed with two pistols and dozens of rounds of ammo, Cho shot and killed 32, wounding 17, in two separate attacks on the campus that took place hours apart from each other. Diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder and a recipient of special education support in his earlier education, Cho had passed two background checks because Virginia did not require all mental health records be submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). His rampage, however, inspired many states, including Virginia, to beef-up their mental health reporting mandates, encouraging states to submit records beyond court-ordered hospitalizations/incompetency rulings to NICS.

Shooting Northern Illinois University

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February 14th, 2008, Northern Illinois University

27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak showed up to Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois, wearing a t-shirt with the word "Terrorist" emblazoned over an image of an assault rifle. Sporting a utility belt with two magazine holsters, a handgun holster, three handguns, eight loaded magazines and a shotgun and a knife, Kazmierczak entered the school auditorium and began firing upon students from the stage.

Kazmierczak quickly exhausted his shotgun rounds and switched over to the 9mm Glock pistol he was carrying, letting off about 50 rounds as he walked up and down auditorium aisles. Kazmierczak killed five people and wounded twenty-one before taking his own life. 


University of Central Arkansas conway arkansas shooting

AP Photo/Danny Johnston

October 26th, 2008, University of Central Arkansas

It was shortly after 9pm when gunshots from a car struck and killed two University of Central Arkansas students outside of a dorm in Conway, Arkansas. Four men have been charged with the crime. A motive has not yet been determined.


chardon high school shooting

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February 27th, 2012, Chardon High School

T.J. Lane shot and killed three students and injured two at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio. Facing a judge and his victims' families last year, he showed little remorse during the appearance in court, uttering the words "Fuck all of you" while sporting a shirt with the word "Killer" scrawled across it. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in prison.


oikos shooting

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April 2nd, 2012, Oikos University

43-year-old former Oikos University student One L. Goh is still engaged in court proceedings for the shooting he has been charged with orchestrating at Oikos University in Oakland, California. In the third most deadly university shooting in United States history, Goh allegedly took seven victims' lives and wounded three.

Goh is believed to have interrupted instruction in a nursing classroom by ordering classmates to line up against a wall. Armed with a .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun, Goh is accused of saying "Get in line…I'm going to kill you all!" before shooting at students.

Goh fled the scene in a car belonging to one of his alleged victims and surrendered to authorities at a nearby Safeway supermarket hours later.


shooting sandy hook


December 14th, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School

Perhaps the most notorious and heart-wrenching school shooting in U.S. history, Adam Lanza's rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, left Americans wondering what could possibly inspire a young man to kill with such seeming indiscrimination.  

It was less than two weeks before Christmas when Lanza got a hold of the weapons over which he and his mother had bonded, killing her with her own .22-caliber Savage MK II-F rifle as she laid in bed.

Lanza then took his mother's Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle to Sandy Hook Elementary, where his mother had worked as a volunteer, and opened fire, killing twenty children and six adult staffers. It was the second most deadly mass shooting by a single gunman in America.


santa monica shooting

Tony Dejak/AP

June 7th, 2013, Santa Monica College

Twenty-three-year-old John Zawahri built his own .223 caliber assault rifle, and then used it to kill his brother and father after a dispute at his Santa Monica, California, home. Zawahri set the house on fire and then carjacked a woman, forcing her to drive him to the Santa Monica College library. He shot and wounded a woman who tried to intervene, then opened rounds on a city bus and police cruiser, injuring a few more. 

At Santa Monica College, Zawahri fatally wounded three people in the parking lot before police shot and killed him in the library. Zawahri left a note expressing remorse for the killing of his relatives, but offering no explanation for his actions at the College.


sparks shooting

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October 21st, 2013, Sparks Middle School

Armed with a semiautomatic handgun he stole from his parents, twelve-year-old Jose Reyes opened fire on his classmates at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada, killing a teacher who tried to help and wounding two students before killing himself. His parents later said that the gun used in the attack had been kept above the refrigerator in an unlocked case.

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May 26th, 2014, University of California, Santa Barbara

After posting a misogynist rant on his YouTube, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger shot and killed four male and two female undergraduates at the University of California, Santa Barbara campus in Isla Vista. He then committed suicide by turning a semi-automatic gun on himself. In a statement released after the incident, Rodger's estranged parents wrote, "It is now our responsibility to do everything we can to help avoid this happening to any other family — not only to avoid any more innocence destroyed, but also to identify and deal with the mental issues that drove our son to do what he did."

Shooting, Reynolds High School, Troutdale, Oregon

The Oregonian, Faith Cathcart/AP

June 10th, 2014, Reynolds High School

15-year-old Jared Michael Padgett allegedly opened fire with a rifle at Reynolds high school in Troutdale, Oregon. A teacher suffered non-fatal injuries and a student was killed — as was the shooter.

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