25 Deadliest Mass Shootings In US History

Posted by , Updated on March 22, 2024

Regrettably, the United States and the rest of the world recently faced yet another horrific act of violence and terror. The incident that occurred in Orlando, Florida on this past Sunday was identified as the deadliest mass shooting in United States history and the most severe act of terrorism since the September 11, 2001. In the event that transpired at 2 AM in Pulse, a gay nightclub, an American citizen of Afghan heritage who pledged his allegiance to ISIS during the shooting, killed no less than 49 people and injured over 50 others. Now referred to as the Orlando Nightclub Shooting, this act was described as “lone wolf” domestic terrorism by the Orlando police chief and Orange County sheriff. Surprisingly, the man responsible for this grotesque assault had been interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014, but was not considered a danger. Stunned and deeply saddened by this tragic occurrence, we decided to put together a list of the deadliest mass shootings in US history. Ranging from the notorious Aurora Shooting to the most recent devastating onslaught in Orlando, we present the 25 Deadliest Mass Shootings In US History. Our hope is that by recalling these horrific events, we can prevent them from happening again in the future.

We realize that many of these unfortunate events have happened recently. Many people are still reeling from the shooting in Orlando. From our families to yours, we send out our sympathy, prayers, and support to the victims and their families and friends.


Charleston Church Shooting (death toll: 9)

Charleston Church ShootingSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

The Charleston Church Shooting took place at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. Nine people were killed by a gunman during a prayer service. After the attack, police arrested 21-year-old Dylann Roof who later confessed that he committed the shooting in hopes of igniting a race war.


Umpqua Community College Shooting (death toll: 9)

Umpqua Community CollegeSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The Umpqua Community College Shooting occurred on October 1, 2015 at the UCC campus near Roseburg, Oregon. Christopher Harper-Mercer, a 26-year-old enrolled at the school, shot and killed an assistant professor and 8 students in a classroom. Up to 9 others were injured. After a brief shootout with the police, Harper-Mercer was wounded and committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.


Red Lake Shootings (death toll: 9)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

The Red Lake Shootings occurred in two places in Red Lake, Minnesota on March 21, 2005. That morning, 16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather (a local police officer) and his grandfather’s girlfriend at their home. After taking his grandfather’s police weapons, he drove to Red Lake Senior High School, where he shot and killed 7 people and wounded 5 others. After the police arrived, Weise committed suicide in a vacant classroom.


Geneva County Massacre (death toll: 10)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

The deadliest shooting event in Alabama history, the Geneva County Massacre occurred in two Alabama counties: Kinston and Coffee County on March 10, 2009. In the incident, 10 people were killed by 28-year-old Michael Kenneth McLendon. Five of his victims were family members including his mother and two children. After engaging in an exchange of fire with police, McLendon committed suicide.


Palm Sunday Massacre (death toll: 10)

BrooklynSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

The Palm Sunday Massacre was a mass shooting incident that occurred in Brooklyn, New York in 1984. In the attack, sole perpetrator Christopher Thomas killed ten people: three women, a teenage girl, and six children. All of the victims were shot from close range, most in the head, and were found in relaxed poses sitting in couches and chairs, suggesting that they had been taken by surprise.


Jacksonville Massacre (death toll: 11)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

On June 18, 1990, James Edward Pough killed nine people and wounded four others in a General Motors Acceptance Corporation car loan office in Jacksonville, Florida. The day before, he also killed a prostitute and her pimp, wounded two teenagers, and robbed a convenience store.


Fairfield Massacre (death toll: 11)

FairfieldSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The oldest mass shooting incident on the list, the Fairfield Massacre dates back to August 22, 1928 when Leung Ying, aged 29, killed 11 people and wounded another 4 on a farm near Fairfield, Solano County, California. Ying was arrested by police the next day and sentenced to death a few days later. Ying committed suicide in his prison cell on October 22, about two weeks before his set execution date.


Easter Sunday Massacre (death toll: 11)

prisonSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

On Easter Sunday on March 30, 1975, James Urban Ruppert, armed with two handguns and a rifle, shot and killed 11 family members in his mother’s house at 635 Minor Avenue in Hamilton, Ohio. The killing spree, known as the Easter Sunday Massacre, is the deadliest mass shooting inside a private residence in US history. Ruppert has been serving two life sentences at the Allen Oakwood Correctional Institution in Lima, Ohio.


Aurora Shooting (death toll: 12)

James HolmesSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: flickr.com

The Aurora Shooting occurred on July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado when sole gunman James Holmes shot into the movie theater’s audience during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. In the attack, Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others. In 2015, he was given 12 life sentences, one for every person he killed, and 3,318 years for the attempted murders of those he wounded.


Washington Navy Yard Shooting (death toll: 12)

Washington Navy Yard ShootingSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

The second-deadliest mass shooting on a U.S. military base behind the Fort Hood Shooting (No. 13 on the list), the Washington Navy Yard Shooting took place on September 16, 2013, when lone gunman Aaron Alexis fatally shot 12 people and injured three others. The shocking event took place at the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command inside the Washington Navy Yard in Southeast Washington, D.C.


Atlanta Shooting (death toll: 12)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

On July 29, 1999, Mark Orrin Barton, a spree killer from Stockbridge, Georgia, killed 12 people and injured 13 more. The shootings occurred at two Atlanta day trading firms where Barton shot and killed four of his co-workers as well as five other victims. Prior to the attack, he killed his wife and two children at home. Four hours after the shootings, Barton committed suicide at a gas station in Acworth, Georgia.


Wah Mee Massacre (death toll: 13)

Wah Mee MassacreSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The deadliest mass murder that has ever happened in Washington, the Wah Mee Massacre was a gang-related multiple homicide that occurred on February 18, 1983. In the shooting, three gunmen shot down 14 people in the Wah Mee gambling club in Seattle´s Chinatown. Thirteen of their victims lost their lives, but one survived to testify against the three in the high-profile trial.


Fort Hood Mass Shooting (death toll: 13)

Fort Hood Mass ShootingSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

The worst mass shooting to have ever occurred on an American military base, the Fort Hood Mass Shooting took place on November 5, 2009 at Fort Hood, near Killeen, Texas. In the attack, Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist, fatally shot 13 people and injured more than 30 others. Hasan might have been motivated by militant Islamic convictions as he was in contact with a prominent Al-Qaeda imam prior to the shooting.


Wilkes-Barre Shooting (death toll: 13)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: flickr.com

On September 25, 1982 George Emil Banks, a former Camp Hill Prison guard, shot and killed 13 people in Wilkes-Barre and Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania. The victims included four of his present and former girlfriends and seven children (five of his own).  His attorneys argued for an insanity defense, but Banks was convicted of charges including 12 counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.


Howard Barton Unruh Killing Spree (death toll: 13)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

On September 6, 1949 Howard Barton Unruh, aged 28, killed 13 people (including 3 children) during a 12-minute walk through his neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey. Unruh, who was paranoid about his neighbors, chose his victims at random. His last public words, made during an interview with a psychologist, were, “I’d have killed a thousand if I had enough bullets.”


Binghamton Shootings (death toll: 13)

gunSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: pixabay.com

The Binghamton Shootings took place on April 3, 2009 at the American Civic Association immigration center in Binghamton, New York. In the attack, Jiverly Antares Wong, a naturalized American citizen from Vietnam, entered the facility and shot a teacher and students from his former classroom before committing suicide. It has been the worst mass killing in the state of New York since the September 11 attacks.


Columbine High School Massacre (death toll: 13)

Columbine High School MassacreSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The Columbine High School Massacre occurred on April 20, 1999 at the Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado. The perpetrators of the massacre, senior students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, murdered 12 students and 1 teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and 3 more were injured while attempting to escape the school. After the attacks, the pair committed suicide by shooting themselves.


San Bernardino Attack (death toll: 14)

San Bernardino AttackSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

On December 2, 2015, 14 people were killed and 22 were seriously injured in a terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. The perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, a married Pakistani couple, targeted a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health training event and holiday party of about 80 employees. A few hours after the shooting, police killed the couple in a shootout.


Edmond Post Office Shooting (death toll: 14)

Edmond Post Office ShootingSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The Edmond post office shooting occurred in Edmond, Oklahoma on August 20, 1986. During a deadly rampage that lasted less than 15 minutes, postal worker Patrick Sherrill pursued and shot 20 co-workers; killing 14 of them before committing suicide. A former US Marine Corps member, Sherril might have been motivated by his fear of being fired as he was reprimanded prior to the attack.


University of Texas Massacre, (death toll: 15)

Charles WhitmanSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: de.wikipedia.org

On August 1, 1966, Charles Whitman, former US Marine and an engineering student at the University of Texas, killed his wife and mother inside their homes. Later that day, he brought a number of guns; including rifles, a shotgun, and handguns, to the University of Texas’ campus at Austin. In about a 90-minute period, he killed 15 people and wounded 32 others.


San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre (death toll: 21)

McDonald'sSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

The San Ysidro McDonald’s Massacre occurred in and around a McDonald’s restaurant in the San Diego neighborhood of San Ysidro on July 18, 1984. The perpetrator, 41-year-old James Huberty, shot and killed 21 people and injured 19 others before being shot by a SWAT sniper. One day before the killing spree, Huberty told his wife his life was over and tried to make an appointment at a mental health clinic.


Luby´s Shooting (death toll: 23)

Luby´s ShootingSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The Luby’s Shooting took place on October 16, 1991, at a restaurant in Killeen, Texas. Motivated by his extreme hatred of women and minorities, George Hennard, an unemployed merchant mariner, crashed his truck through the front of the Luby’s Cafeteria and immediately shot and killed 23 people and wounded 27 others before killing himself. Most of the victims were women.


Sandy Hook Shooting (death toll: 27)

Sandy Hook ShootingSource and image: en.wikipedia.org

The third deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting occurred on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children (aged between 6 and 7) and 6 adult staff members. When first responders arrived at the scene, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself. Prior to the shooting, Lanza also killed his mother at their Newtown home.


Virginia Tech Shooting (death toll: 32)

Virginia Tech ShootingSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: commons.wikimedia.org

The deadliest school shooting incident in U.S. history and one of the deadliest by a single gunman worldwide, the Virginia Tech Shooting occurred on April 16, 2007 at the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. During the attack, Seung-Hui Cho, a student of the university who was previously diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others before committing suicide.


Orlando Nightclub Shooting (death toll: 50)

Orlando Nightclub ShootingSource: en.wikipedia.org, image: youtube.com

On June 12, 2016 the LGBTQ nightclub Pulse in Orlando, Florida became the site of the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in US history, the deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people, and the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the 9/11 attacks. The lone assailant, later identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, shot and killed at least 49 people while injuring 53 others. Mateen, who pledged allegiance to ISIS during the attack, was killed by SWAT officers who entered the building by driving an armored vehicle through a wall.