Home Top 7 7 Deadliest Mass Shootings Since 1949

7 Deadliest Mass Shootings Since 1949

by Dan Cuesta
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Flashing headlines of mass shootings are more frequent from the past few years. Mostly, minors and young adults are the culprits. Mass shootings are distinguished by the fact that they are typically carried out by highly angry individuals seeking vengeance or payback for failures in education, profession, romance, and life in general. These occurrences raised concerns about the mental health of people of across ages. In this article, we gathered seven mass shootings by death toll.

Here are the top seven deadliest mass shootings that happened from 1949.

  1. Las Vegas Shooting 2017

LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 01 People run from the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old Mesquite, Nevada resident, opened fire on a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival on the Las Vegas Strip on October 1, 2017. He fired almost 1,000 shots from his 32nd-floor Mandalay Bay Hotel rooms, killing 60 people and injuring 411, with the following panic bringing the total number of injured to 867. Paddock was found dead in his room an hour later from a self-inflicted bullet wound. Officially, his motivation is unknown. The tragedy is the deadliest mass shooting in US history perpetrated by a single person. It drew attention to gun restrictions in the United States, notably in relation to bump stocks, which Paddock used to fire rounds in rapid succession at a rate comparable to automatic weapons. Bump stocks were outlawed in the United States. The prohibition was imposed by the Justice Department in December 2018, but on March 25, 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it.


  1. Orlando Nightclub Shooting 2016

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old man, opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. After a three-hour standoff, Orlando police officers shot and killed him. Mateen claimed allegiance to the head of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a 9-1-1 call made immediately after the shooting began, and that the US execution of Abu Waheeb in Iraq the previous month “inspired” the massacre. Later, he told a negotiator that he was “out here right now” because of US-led interventions in Iraq and Syria, and that the negotiator should warn the US to cease bombing. FBI investigators classified the incident as a terrorist act. The majority of the casualties were Latino, as Pulse was celebrating a “Latin Night.” It was the deadliest incidence of violence against LGBT people in US history, as well as the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since the September 11 attacks in 2001, and the deadliest mass shooting in US history until the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.


  1. Virginia Tech Shooting 2007

The Virginia Tech shooting was a two-part shooting spree that took place on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, on April 16, 2007. With two semi-automatic pistols, Seung-Hui Cho, an undergrad student at university and a U.S. resident of South Korean origin killed 32 people and injured 17 more. Six more were hurt when attempting to flee Cho by leaping out of windows. Cho chained the main entrance doors shut and fired into four classrooms and a stairwell, killing thirty more people. The first shooting happened at West Ambler Johnston Hall, a dormitory, where two people were killed; the main attack was a mass killing at Norris Hall, a classroom building, where Cho chained the main entrance door closed and fired into four classrooms and a stairwell, killing two more people. Cho fatally shot himself in the head as police stormed Norris Hall.


  1. Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting 2012

On December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut, United States, 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, including 20 children aged six to seven and six adult staff members. He shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home earlier that day, before heading to the school. Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself in the head as first responders arrived at the school.  The shooting is the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in American history, as well as the fourth-deadliest mass shooting in the country. The shooting reignited discussion about gun regulation in the United States, prompting calls for universal background checks and new federal and state gun legislation prohibiting the sale and production of certain semi-automatic guns and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The Connecticut State Attorney’s office found in November 2013 that Lanza acted alone and premeditated his acts, but gave no reason why he did so or why he chose the school. Lanza had Asperger syndrome and suffered depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder as a teenager, according to a study released by the Office of the Child Advocate in November 2014, however the investigation concluded that these conditions had neither caused nor contributed to his deadly conduct. His serious and deteriorating internalized mental health problems, along with an abnormal fascination with violence and access to lethal weapons, proved to be a recipe for mass murder, according to the investigation.


  1. Sutherland Springs Church Shooting 2017

Law enforcement officials investigate a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Devin Patrick Kelley of New Braunfels, Texas, carried out a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on November 5, 2017. Before dropping dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Kelley killed 26 people, along with an unborn child, and injured 22 more. The incident is the bloodiest in Texas history and the fifth deadliest in the United States. It surpassed the Charleston church shooting in 2015 and the Waddell Buddhist temple shooting in 1991 as the bloodiest shooting in an American house of worship in modern history.


  1. Luby’s Shooting 1991

The Luby’s killing was a mass shooting that occurred at a Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, on October 16, 1991. George Hennard, the offender, smashed the restaurant’s front glass with his pickup vehicle. He shot and murdered 23 people while injuring another 27. He was involved in a brief firefight, refused to surrender, and then fatally shot himself. The attack was the deadliest mass shooting by a deranged shooter in US history at the time, until the Virginia Tech tragedy 16 years later.


  1. El Paso Walmart Shooting 2019

A mass shooting took place in a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019. A gunman opened fire, killing 23 individuals and injuring another 23. The incident is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as an act of domestic terrorism and a hate crime. According to reports, the shooting was the deadliest attack on Latinos in modern American history. In connection with the shooting, Patrick Wood Crusius, a 21-year-old Allen, Texas resident, was charged and convicted with capital murder. Crusius, according to police, wrote a manifesto with white nationalist and anti-immigrant themes that was posted on the online message board 8chan shortly before the attack; it cites the year’s earlier Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, as well as the far-right conspiracy theory known as the Great Replacement as motivation for the attack.


When gun massacres occur, people generally look for an explanation, and mental illness is commonly blamed. It is considerably more intricate than that; pinpointing a single cause or risk factor is tough. There are a variety of reasons for these shootings, including domestic terrorism, gun availability, romanticism with violence, and several risk factors such as depression, narcissism, alienation, lack of trust, poor coping skills, and fascination with violence-filled entertainment, revenge fantasies, and attempted suicide.

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