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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A history of school shootings in US: Teenaged shooters often used parent’s licensed weapons

Over the past two decades, the US has seen a spate of mass shootings in schools, fuelling a debate on gun control laws and safety of students. Here are some school shooting incidents reported since 2000.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 25, 2022 4:52:55 pm
texas school shooting live updatesThe police near Robb Elementary School following a shooting on Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. (AP)

An 18-year-old gunman opened fire at an elementary school in South Texas on Tuesday, killing 19 students and two adults, state Governor Greg Abbott told reporters.

The suspect was killed in the midday shooting at the Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde. Over the past two decades, a spate of mass shootings have mounted in the US, fuelling a debate about gun control laws and safety of students.

Here are some shooting incidents at US schools since 2000:

Robb Elementary School, Texas May 24, 2022

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The 18-year-old gunman, Salvador Ramos, legally bought two rifles from a federally licensed gun store after his eighteenth birthday, the authorities said. A day after purchasing the gun, he bought 375 rounds of ammunition and then on May 20 he purchased the second rifle.

Ahead of the attack on the school, Ramos shot his grandmother with the rifle he had bought earlier.

His friends and relatives described him as a lonely 18-year-old who “was bullied over a childhood speech impediment, suffered from a fraught home life and lashed out violently against peers and strangers recently and over the years,” The Washington Post reported.

His colleagues at work were quoted as saying by New York Times that he “went out of the way to keep by himself” and nobody really knew him.

High school in Michigan, November 30, 2021

Four students were killed and seven others were wounded after a teenager opened fire at a high school in Oxford, Michigan.

Following the shooting, prosecutors had charged Oxford High School student Ethan Crumbley, 15, as an adult. He had pleaded not guilty.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald was quoted as saying by BBC that among evidence that Crumbley had planned the attack was a video from a night before the shooting, in which he was discussing killing students. The teen was initially charged with one count of terrorism, four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and 12 counts of possession of a firearm.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told reporters that Crumbley had never been on the radar of law enforcement or the school, adding that no evidence pointed to him being bullied by his peers. Further, his parents had been called to the school hours before the shooting after one of his teachers found an alarming note he had drawn, scrawled with images of a gun, a person who had been shot and a laughing emoji, and the words, “Blood everywhere,” and, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me”, New York Times reported.

Investigators also found the suspect loaded his firearm, belonging to his father, in the bathroom before firing shots in the school’s hallway.

Santa Fe High School, Houston, May 18, 2018

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, opened fire at a Houston-area high school, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said, before surrendering to officers. He had been charged with murder.

He was armed with a shotgun and a .38 revolver that were legally owned by his father. “He had one sawed-off shotgun and he had a pistol,” his peer told The New York Times. “He was wearing a trench coat with combat boots. He was wearing a ‘Born to Kill’ shirt.”

Governor Texas had said that Pagourtzis had no history of arrests or run-ins with law enforcement. “He said that not only did he want to commit the shooting, but he wanted to commit suicide after the shooting,” Abbott said, a step he didn’t take as his courage failed him.

A CNN report adds that the shooter admitted that he didn’t shoot people he liked and meant to kill the ones he did target.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida, February 15, 2018

An attack left 14 students and three staff members dead at the school in Parkland, Florida, and injured many others. The 19-year-old suspect, Nikolas Cruz, a former student of the school, was charged with murder.

Cruz had recently been expelled from Douglas for disciplinary reasons and was enrolled elsewhere in the district, the schools superintendent in Broward County, Robert Runcie, was quoted as saying by NBC News. He was reportedly armed with an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and multiple magazines, said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

Cruz, a loner who had worked at a dollar store, posted photos of weapons on Instagram. Cruz’s mother died in 2017. As a high school freshman, Cruz was part of the US military-sponsored Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corp program at the school, according to Jillian Davis, a former fellow JROTC member at Stoneman Douglas High.

Then President Donald Trump has tweeted that there were “many signs the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed.”

Umpqua Community College, Oregon, October 2015

A man killed nine people at the school in Roseburg, Oregon, and wounded nine others, before dying in a shootout with the police.

The horror began when a shot came through the window and hit a teacher in the head. The gunman then entered the Snyder Hall classroom and told people to get on the floor, the Roseburg News-Review newspaper reported. He told people to stand up and state their religion before opening fire at those who said they were Christians.

The shooter identified as Chris Harper Mercer brought six guns to Umpqua Community College and later, another seven weapons were found at his home. All 13 were bought legally, according to the BBC. Mercer enlisted in the army in 2008, but was discharged after less than a month in basic training.

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut, December 2012

Adam Lanza, 19, killed his mother at their home in Newtown, Connecticut, then went to the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first graders and six educators. He then took his own life.

Lanza used a Bushmaster Model XM15-E2S rifle during the shooting. The rifle and two handguns found next to him and an Izhmash Saiga-12 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun recovered in his car were legally purchased by his mother.

A woman who befriended him online said he was “singularly focused and obsessed with mass murders and spree killings” and regarded school shooters “with respect and understanding,” according to heavily redacted FBI documents accessed by CNN. She said Lanza chose to be a vegan because people were “needlessly cruel” to animals.

Earlier this year, Remington Arms agreed to pay $73 million to the families of five children and four adults killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, marking the first time a gunmaker has agreed to a major settlement over a mass shooting in the United States.

Red Lake High School, Minnesota, March 2005

Jeff Weise, 16, killed his grandfather and the man’s companion at their Minnesota home, then went to nearby Red Lake High School, where he killed five students, a teacher and a security guard before shooting himself.

The Libertarian National Socialist Green Party issued a statement later confirming that Weise posted messages there. The writer of those messages assumed two user names: NativeNazi and “Todesengel,” which means “Angel of Death” in German.

“I stumbled across the site in my study of the Third Reich as well as Nazism,” a March 2004 post read. “I guess I’ve always carried a natural admiration for Hitler and his ideals, and his courage to take on larger nations.” Another 2004 post read, “As a result of cultural dominance and interracial mixing, there is barely any full-blooded Natives left. Where I live, less than 1 percent of all the people on the reservation can speak their own language.”

Weise’s grandfather was a tribal police officer, and Weise took his police-issued shotgun and semiautomatic pistol to the school and wore his bulletproof vest, CBS News reported.

With inputs from agencies

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