The 10 Deadliest Mass Shootings In The USA
We'd like to deviate from our typical witty intro for a moment to offer our sincerest and deepest sympathies to the families left scarred by these incidents, the 10 deadliest shootings in the United States.
Pulse Nightclub - Orlando, Florida
After the death of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Shaker Wahib al-Fahdawi al-Dulaimi, 29-year-old Omar Mateen sought a means to act out against those he believed responsible - the United States of America. On June 12th, 2016, the ISIL sympathizer walked into Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida brandishing a SIG Sauer MCX and 9mm Glock 17 and opened fire. During the shooting, Mateen took several measures to ensure he and ISIL received credit, even calling 9-1-1 and pledging allegiance to ISIL leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The shooter was able to kill 49 and wounded an additional 53 people within the club before Orlando police officers breached the club and shot him 8 times, killing him. Mateen had no known connection with ISIL or ISIS but did demand negotiators to "tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq."
Virginia Tech - Blacksburg, Virginia
The campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is not a site one would ever expect to breed disaster, but on April 16th, 2007, student Cho Seung Hui brought down a dark cloud over the school. The troubled killer behind the massacre was diagnosed at a young age with major depressive disorder and anxiety disorders and was known for being a loner and leaning his assignments towards a dark, morbid tone. On the day of the shooting, Cho had mailed a rather telling manifesto to the New York headquarters of NBC, explaining the reasons behind the shooting. Before turning the gun on himself, Cho gunned down 49 students and teachers, killing 32.
Sandy Hook Elementary School - Newtown, Connecticut
One of the more heinous shooting sprees on this list, the Sandy hook Elementary School shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adults devastated the nation. The swine behind the December 2012 tragedy, 20-year-old Adam Lanza started his killing spree closer to home, shooting and killing his mother before setting his sights on the school. The investigation that followed provided the families of the victims no solace as a motive for Lanza's crime was never determined, though his mental health, which included a possible onset of schizophrenia misdiagnosed as Asperger's, and fascination with mass shootings, including the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, were called into question. An answer may never be found, however, as Lanza killed himself as first responders started arriving at the elementary school. In 2013, the school was demolished and made way for a new institution that opened its doors in August of 2016.
Luby's Cafeteria - Killeen, Texas
Within a matter of 13 crawling minutes, former Merchant Marine George Hennard entered Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas and took the lives of 23 people and wounding another 20 before turning the gun on himself. Known for being combative and cold, those that knew Hennard expected him to have a darker side, just not one corrupt enough to execute such a tragedy. After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy and removed from the Merchant Marines for possession of marijuana, Hennard wasn't left with many options, especially after his ability to work at sea was stripped after being caught a second time with marijuana. In 1991, the former seaman made a failed attempt to regain the ability to work at sea, leaving him embittered and seeking revenge. On October 16th of the same year, Hennard crashed his truck into Luby's during the lunch rush and opened fire.
McDonald's - San Ysidro, California
The unsuspecting town of San Ysidro, California was met with tragedy on July 18th, 1984 when 41-year-old James Huberty opened fire in a McDonald's, killing 21 people and injuring 19. Days leading up to the shooting, Huberty suspected he was having mental issues, a claim he made to his wife just before attempting to make an appointment with a mental health clinic. Deemed a non-crisis by the receptionist due to his calm demeanor on the phone, the man's case was to be handled within 48-hours - a decision that inadvertently pushed him over the edge. Believing even society had failed him in his time of need, Huberty gave up, kissed his wife goodbye, and told her he was going, "hunting humans." Shortly after he left, Huberty walked into a crowded McDonald's restaurant and commenced a 77-minute killing spree before being killed by a SWAT sniper.
University of Texas Tower - Austin, Texas
August 1st, 1966 was a rather different kind of day for University of Texas engineering student Charles Joseph Whitman, who decided to forego his morning routine to go on a rampage shooting spree. Starting by killing his wife and his mother, Whitman ended up shooting a total of 49 people from the University of Texas Tower, resulting in 15 deaths, including an unborn child, and 31 injuries. Plagued by what he described in his suicide letter as "irrational thoughts," Whitman claimed to have killed his family members to release them from suffering and, according to the suicide note, requested that his body be autopsied to determine if his actions were biological in nature. Over the course of 5 city blocks, Whitman left a trail of terror so shocking that it contended with the Vietnam War for the public's attention.
Inland Regional Center – San Bernardino, CA
Fourteen people were tragically killed during a December 2nd, 2015 attack on the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. Carried out by Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the attack was later deemed by the FBI a terrorist attack perpetrated by "homegrown violent extremists" inspired by foreign terrorism. The attack, which was meant to end with a deadly bombing, took place during a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and Christmas Party, likely chosen due to the larger number of people that would be present. After 14 were needlessly killed, and an additional 21 people injured, the married couple were gunned down by local law enforcement after attempting to escape in an SUV. After the attack, a former neighbor and Farook's brother and sister-in-law were arrested in connection to the shooting.
Edmond Post Office - Edmond, Oklahoma
Postal worker Patrick H. Sherrill wasn't a stable man to begin with, but tack on issues he had with USPS management, a fascination with firearms, and a desire for revenge and you have the recipe that lead to the August 20th, 1986 murders of 14 of his coworkers. After being reprimanded the day prior, Sherrill decided to act upon his numerous threats of revenge, arrived to work with semi-automatic pistols, and unleashed his rage before killing himself. The disturbed man's rampage was one of 15 reported postal employee homicides between 1986 and 1999 and makes up just under half of the total victims in that time period.
Columbine High School - Littleton, Colorado
It was the shooting that rocked America and turned a normal day in April of 1999 into a nightmare. High school students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of Littleton, Colorado entered Columbine High School just after 11am and placed two explosive-filled duffle bags in the cafeteria. When their initial plan to blow up a portion of the school ultimately failed, the psychotic duo brandished firearms, returned to the school, and opened fire on students and teachers. The unhinged pair claimed 13 lives and injured 24 before turning their weapons on themselves, leaving behind a blood-soaked legacy that devastated unsuspecting families. While trying to determine why the two went on their spree and spent a year planning it, investigators took a hard look at several things, including their taste in video games. Ultimately, it was determined that Harris was a bona fide psychopath while Klebold was suicidal and depressive, which lent to the toxic friendship.
Century Movie Theater - Aurora, Colorado
While trying to enjoy a midnight screening of The Dark Knight, a theater filled with people came under fire by former University of Colorado Anschutz PH.D. student, James Holmes. Holmes' attack on the theater started with canisters of tear gas and ended in gunfire from an unusual assortment of firearms including a Smith & Wesson M&P15 rifle. By the time Holmes ceased his assault and returned to his vehicle, he had inflicted record damage, injuring 70 and killing 12. Allegedly prior to the attack, the gunman had attempted to seek help via a mental health hotline but was unable to connect with an operator. During his trial, Holmes' psychiatrist testified that her patient had admitted having frequent homicidal thoughts and even warned his mother of his condition. Holmes attempted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity but was given 12 consecutive life sentences and 3,318 years without parole.