Top 10 Deadliest Mass Killings In U.S. History Ever

Mass Killings In U.S. History

October 3rd, 2017   |   Updated on March 28th, 2024

From Las Vegas to Sandy Hook, mass shootings are a tragic and all too regular occurrence. The number of people killed in the San Ysidro, Calif., mass shooting in 1984 is 22. A previous version incorrectly listed it as 2.

The mass shooting at a country-music concert in Las Vegas late Sunday is the worst ever to happen in the U.S., and it’s the deadliest attack on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. These are the top 10 mass shootings:

1. Las Vegas: Oct. 1, 2017.


Victims: 58 killed and more than 515 wounded.

Shooter: 64-year-old Stephen Paddock.

Motive: Unknown.


2. Orlando, Fla.: June 12, 2016.


Victims: 49 people killed and more than 58 wounded.

Shooter: 29-year-old Omar Mateen.

Motive: Terror, hate crime.


3. Blacksburg, Va.: April 16, 2007.


Victims: 33 killed (including the shooter) and 17 wounded on the campus of Virginia Tech.

Shooter: 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho.

Motive: Mental-health issues.


4. Newtown, Conn.: Dec. 14, 2012.


28 killed, including shooter and his mother along with 20 children aged 6 and 7, and 2 wounded at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Shooter: 20-year-old Adam Lanza.

Motive: Mental-health issues.


5. Killeen, Texas: Oct. 16, 1991.


Victims: 24 killed (including shooter) and 27 wounded.

Shooter: 35-year-old George Hennard.

Motive: Hatred of women, ethnic minorities.


6. San Ysidro, Calif.: July 19, 1984.


Victims: 22 killed (including shooter) and 19 wounded.

Shooter: 41-year-old James Huberty.

Motive: Mental-health issues.


7. Austin, Texas: Aug. 1, 1966.


Victims: 18 killed (including shooter) and 31 wounded in what became known as the University of Texas tower shooting.

Shooter: 25-year-old Charles Whitman.

Motive: Mental-health issues, although a brain tumor was found after his death.


8. Edmond, Okla.: Aug. 20, 1986.


Victims: 15 killed (including shooter) and 6 wounded.

Shooter: 44-year-old postal worker Patrick Sherill.

Motive: Revenge after a workplace supervisory reprimand. The incident inspired the phrase “going postal.”


9. San Bernardino, Calif.: Dec. 2, 2015.


Victims: 16 killed (including 2 shooters) and 24 wounded.

Shooters: 28-year-old Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, his wife.

Motive: Terror after shooters were radicalized online and committed to jihadism.


10. Fort Hood, Texas: Nov. 5, 2009.


Victims: 13 killed and 33 wounded.

Shooter: Nidal Hasan.

Motive: Uncertain, although the shooter and his family have described it as terror inspired by radical Islam.

Also, It should be noted that, in a 2016 news release cautioning journalists to exercise care in choosing words while writing about Mass Killings, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists point to a mass-scale killing in East St. Louis, Ill., in 1917 and another in Colfax, La., in 1873 as involving minority victims and deserving of consideration in any effort to rank Mass Killings by magnitude. Those incidents, according to the journalism organizations, each left more than 100 dead.