Education

School Shootings List in Twenty Years Since Columbine: 240 and Counting

This photo of the Columbine memorial was tweeted by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office early on April 16, prior to a threat from a Florida woman that resulted in school closures across Denver the next day.
This photo of the Columbine memorial was tweeted by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office early on April 16, prior to a threat from a Florida woman that resulted in school closures across Denver the next day. @jeffcosheriffco
Twenty years ago tomorrow, on April 20, 1999, two seniors at Columbine High School killed twelve students and a teacher before taking their own lives in an appalling episode that changed the way law enforcers from coast to coast deal with school shootings and inspired efforts such as Safe2Tell, which allows anonymous reporting of safety concerns. But these positive steps hardly squelched the fascination with Columbine, which played out across Denver this week by way of widespread school closures prompted by a Florida woman obsessed with the slayings, and neither have they put an end to gun violence at such facilities.

In the two decades since Columbine, as documented below, there have been at least 240 more school shootings in the United States.

Granted, the total is likely even higher. While the Wikipedia page from which the dates and brief descriptions that follow were culled seems comprehensive (its first entry goes all the way back to 1840), it doesn't include the August 28, 2018, shooting outside DSST Cole Middle School that severely injured one student. Denver police see the incident as gang-related, but it would certainly seem to qualify for inclusion anyway, given that school was in session and the attack took place just prior to 2 p.m. on the day in question.

Nonetheless, the wide variety of carnage documented here offers evidence aplenty that more needs to be done to prevent firearms-related assaults on schools.


As you'll see, not all of the incidents were mass shootings. In some, no one was hurt or the injuries sustained weren't life-threatening. Others resulted in one or more fatalities yet remained local matters that didn't receive national news coverage; we predict that readers will be startled by the sheer volume of school shootings completely unfamiliar to them.

And then there are the massacres that echoed the one that so many people in the Denver area will never forget.

In an item published on April 20, 2009, ten years after the attack, we counted 108 school shootings since Columbine. We updated the roster after the December 2012 killings in Newtown, Connecticut, and again following the horrific 2015 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, and the 2018 tragedy in Parkland, Florida.

The last three registers added another 100 school shootings, bringing the aggregate since Columbine to 208 — and in just over a year post-Parkland, the aforementioned page documented another 32, resulting in a sum of 240.


These estimates demonstrate that the pace of school shootings has actually quickened from the first decade after Columbine to the second. That's a sad testimony to the size and scope of the problem, and the desperate need to chip away at it.

Here's the roster, starting with Columbine and continuing through today.

April 20, 1999 Littleton, Colorado
Columbine High School massacre: 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold, students at Columbine High School, killed twelve students and one teacher. They injured 21 additional people, and three more were injured while attempting to escape the school. The pair committed suicide at the end of the massacre.

May 20, 1999 Conyers, Georgia
15-year-old student Thomas "T.J." Solomon Jr., wounded six students at Heritage High School. A 15-year-old girl was hospitalized in critical condition, and the other victims suffered from non-life-threatening injuries. Solomon initially faced up to 351 years of prison if convicted of aggravated assault and other charges. In 2000 he was found guilty but mentally ill and was sentenced to forty years in prison and sixty-five years of probation.

November 19, 1999 Deming, New Mexico
13-year-old Victor Cordova Jr., fatally shot 13-year-old Deming Middle School schoolmate, Araceli Tena. Cordova said he had intended to commit suicide but was jostled by others and his gun moved.

December 6, 1999 Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Before his middle school opened, 13-year-old Seth Trickey opened fire in the courtyard. While there were no fatalities, several students felt sparks from the bullets hitting the building walls. Five were injured, including a girl who was shot in the face. Trickey brought the gun from home.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts