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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

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

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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.