How Often Do Mass Shootings Occur At Schools?

Friday, January 11th, 2019

Primary Targets — How Often Do Mass Shootings Occur at Schools?

If it feels like there are a lot of mass shootings in the U.S., it’s likely because on average there is one per day. At the end of December 2015, The New York Times calculated how often, on average, shootings that left four or more people wounded or dead occurred in the U.S. state year. That year alone, 462 people died and 1,314 were wounded in 353 attacks, many of which occurred on streets or in public settings.

Since that reporting, the frequency has not declined. If anything, it’s gotten worse, including the deadliest mass shooting incident in U.S. history in 2017:

  • 58 killed, 500 injured – October 1, 2017 – In Las Vegas, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, sprays gunfire on a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing 58 people and injuring almost 500.

However, primary targets are businesses and schools. They top the list of deadliest mass shootings including these tragedies:

  • 32 killed, Multiple Wounded – April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. A gunman, 23-year-old student Seung-Hui Cho, goes on a shooting spree killing 32 people in two locations and wounding an undetermined number of others on campus.


  • 27 killed – December 14, 2012 – Sandy Hook Elementary School – Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza, 20, guns down 20 children, ages six and seven, and six adults, school staff and faculty.


  • 17 killed – February 14, 2018 – A former student unleashes a hail of gunfire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing at least 17 adults and children.