The Deadliest School Shootings in U.S. History

Schools in America have been no stranger to violence. Despite these places being a place of learning, lone or paired shooters have turned many of the nation's learning institutions into deadly crime scenes. To really show the scope of how this violence has affected campuses across the country, this list compiles the worst school shootings in US history

From the Columbine High School shooting, to Virginia Tech, and the UCC shooting in Oregon, school safety has become a serious concern among Americans. This list of school shootings shows just how pervasive gun violence has affected elementary schools, high schools, universities and vocational schools. When looking at school shooting statistics, it should also be helpful to actually look at and read harrowing accounts of school violence. 

So look through this school shooting today list and learn details of these senseless acts. Then afterward, go through some of our less depressing and horrifying lists to make your day a little bit better. 

  • Colorado STEM School - 2019

    Death Toll: 1
    Injured: 8

    On May 7, 2019, two suspected students, 18-year-old Devon Erickson and an unidentified minor, opened fire in two separate locations at the Colorado STEM school campus. Students and staff were evacuated and the suspects were immediately apprehended by police. The attack left eight injured. Kendrick Castillo, and 18-year-old student, was fatally shot when he lunged at one of the gunman. According to Castillo's classmate, Nui Giasolli, his actions gave the rest of the students "enough time to get underneath our desks to get ourselves safe." 

    At the time of the shooting, students and parents were redirected to a nearby rec center to reunite and wait for more information.  

  • University Of North Carolina-Charlotte - 2019

    Death Toll: 2
    Injured: 4

    On April 30, 2019, 22-year-old Trystan Andrew Terrell was apprehended shortly after claiming two lives and injuring four more at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. CBS broke the news on the site, mentioning that parents in the area offered to act as "stand-in parents" for students who might need immediate emotional support. As the campus was shut down, UNCC Emergency Management tweeted, "Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately. Monitor email and"

    Riley Howell, a 21-year-old student, tackled Terrell with such force that the gunman complained of internal injuries. Howell was fatally shot three times as he charged at Terrell. Police report that no one else was shot after Howell took Terrell down. Ellis Reed Parlier, who was 19 years old, was also killed. 

  • Virginia Tech - 2007

    Death toll: 33
    Injured: 25 

    Sueng-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, had been diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder, even so far as having a Virginia special justice order him to seek treatment. But because he was not institutionalized, he was able to purchase firearms. Virginia Tech was unable to know about any of this due to medical privacy laws. Cho committed two separate shootings, even going so far as to pause after the first, change his clothes, and then continue his rampage. Cho then committed suicide. 
  • Sandy Hook - 2012

    Death toll: 28
    Injured: 2 

    After shooting and killing his mother in their home, 20-year-old Adam Lanza proceeded to go to Sandy Hook Elementary School, firing on the students and faculty within. So far, evidence has shown that Lanza was obsessed with mass shootings, but authorities have not found evidence to suggest why he went to Sandy Hook specifically. 

    This incident was the deadliest mass shooting at a high school or grade school in U.S. history. 
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School - 2018

    Death toll: 17 
    Injured: 14

    On February 14, 2018, teenager Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with a semi-automatic rifle. Cruz had been expelled earlier in the year. He took an Uber to campus in the morning, entered the school, and began shooting. Cruz concealed himself in the crowd fleeing the school, but was later arrested and taken into police custody. Cruz's motivation was not immediately clear, but there was a YouTuber by the name of "Nikolas Cruz" who reportedly posted a comment saying, "I'm going to be a professional school shooter" online.  

  • UT Austin - 1966

    Death toll: 17
    Injured: 31

    Charles Whitman, 25, was an engineering student and former U.S. Marine studying at the University of Texas - Austin. After being honorably discharged for gambling while in the Corps, he killed his wife and mother, then proceeded to climb atop an observation deck at his school and fire on students during a 96-minute rampage until he was shot dead by police.