History of School Shootings in the United States: 2016
On January 22, 2016
in Indianapolis, Indiana a 15-year-old male was shot in the leg and injured during a night-time basketball game at Lawrence Central High School.
On January 29, 2016
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a gunshot was fired during a fight in a stairwell at Franklin High School, and no injuries were reported. Three people were detained.
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On February 9, 2016
in Muskegon Heights, Michigan four people, including two students, were injured during a basketball game event in the parking lot of Muskegon Heights High School.
On February 12, 2016
in Glendale, Arizona two 15-year-old girls died in an apparent murder-suicide at Independence High School.
A teacher and students at Independence High School identified the deceased as Mary Kieu and Dorothy Dutiel, 15-year-old sophomores. Police said each girl died of a single gunshot wound, and that a weapon and a suicide note were found on the scene.
"They were found next to each other and the weapon was beside them," Glendale Police Officer Tracey Breeden stated at a press conference on the tragic murder-suicide. Dutiel had posted on social media in November that she was dating Kieu. Just months after their two-year anniversary, Dorothy Dutiel and Mary Kieu were found dead at the school.
“And now we're Sophomores. Today is our two year mark, and I love her dearly. I'm yours, May Kieu,” Dutiel wrote on Instagram, with a heart emoji. “I love you,” May replied. On Thursday night, Dutiel tweeted that she was “rejected af [as fuck]” and then simply, “Goodbye.” Police have not released the contents of the suicide note. May played chess on the school’s varsity chess team, and was named the freshman student of the month in February 2015.
On February 29, 2016
in Middletown, Ohio 15-year-old Cameron Smith, and 14-year-old Cooper Caffrey, were shot by 14-year-old James Austin Hancock, who opened fire in the cafeteria at Madison High School with a .380 caliber handgun. 15-year-old Brant Murray, and 14-year-old Katherine Douchette, also suffered injuries in the shooting. He was apprehended nearby, and eventually James Austin Hancock was ordered by a judge to be kept in juvenile detention until he is 21 on Monday.
Prior to the shooting Austin had argued with his father because he was close to failing his history class. His dad yelled at him, Austin told police, for not caring enough, but said he really was trying to do better and had wanted to run track in the spring. Austin also told police he wanted to live with his mom. His parents split up shortly after he was born, when they were still in high school. His mom served time in prison on drug charges, and Tommy Hancock got full custody of Austin when he was 4. Kristi Blevins had only attended three of his sporting events, Austin told police, but said she was doing better now, and trying to spend more time with him. Austin was tired of the arguments with his father about grades, and tired of the all the chores he felt he had to do. He was washing dishes when he snapped and screamed "I'm gonna hang myself because of you," at his father. A few months before he brought the gun to school, Austin wrote a suicide note, which he flushed down a toilet.
Some of Austin's relatives teach at Madison high and others attend school there. None saw this coming. His step-mom said she “used to practice Austin’s yearbook smile, because his natural one was too big”, but Austin told police he often sat alone at family events, and during a Super Bowl party at his aunt's house, he broke down, and remembered crying in front of everyone. "My family just kind of looks at me weird," he told police. He said he brought the gun to use on himself. After the shooting, a sheriff's deputy asked him why he did it. "So I wouldn't have to go back home," Austin said.
Cooper Caffrey, who wrestled on the school team with Hancock, read a statement where he forgave Austin, and said he would visit him in jail when he was able to.
There are many questions that I have for you Austin. Why me? Why Cameron? Why at all? I understand that you felt this world kept hitting and hitting you and maybe you just wanted to hit back but you had a good life. We all have problems. For my part, I’m sorry that when you told me at the wrestling practice I didn’t listen. I’m sorry that when you talked about what was wrong, about things that were bothering you, about your family or girls or even annoying teachers, I didn’t listen more, I didn’t try to help. I considered you one of my closest friends. I want you to know that I forgive you. People think that’s crazy and keep telling me I should be mad and I have a right to be mad but I’m not. — Cooper Caffrey
On April 23, 2016
in Antigo, Wisconsin two students at a prom at Antigo High School were shot and injured by former student Jakob Wagner, 18 years of age.
Wagner exchanged fire with a school resource officer in the school's parking lot, and was captured after being shot and wounded by police. He died hours later in a hospital.
On April 26, 2016
in Dodge City, Kansas Uriel Adame, Juan Buendia, and Jose Guzma were arrested for a shooting at Dodge City Community College. Guzman shot at three students in a campus parking lot. No one was injured, but a car was hit by a gunshot. Guzman was arrested for attempted first degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery. Adame and Buenida were arrested for conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery.
On June 1, 2016
in Los Angeles, California at UCLA Mainak Sarkar, age 38, a Ph.D. student, killed his former professor, William S. Klug, age 39, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, in an engineering building at UCLA. Sarkar then killed himself. Sarkar, who lived in Minnesota, also killed his ex-wife, Ashley Hasti, age 31, in her Brooklyn Park, Minnesota home and is suspected to have been killed by Sarkar several days before the UCLA shooting. The shooting at UCLA happened in a fourth-floor office in Engineering IV, a building in the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Christopher Lynch, an aerospace and mechanical engineering professor who heard the gunshots, went to Klug's office and held the door shut, after which he heard another shot and then silence. Another professor said she heard someone fall after the last shot. Lynch later said that he did not feel the gunman try to open it but suspected the gunman heard yelling for the hallway to be cleared out and that police were being called in. When officers responded at Engineering IV and met Lynch, he gave them his office key so they could check rooms, and then left with another professor to check on students who locked themselves in the laboratories on the lower floor. Two handguns and a suicide note were found near the two bodies.
Based on initial reports of the shooting, authorities mistook it for an attempted mass shooting, prompting a massive police response as school officials put the campus on lockdown and hundreds of UCLA and LAPD officers, including SWAT and officers from additional agencies, searched the area. A nearby hospital and three elementary schools were also put on lockdown, and when the lockdown was lifted just after noon classes at UCLA were canceled for the day. An apartment traced to the gunman was searched by police, and a description of his vehicle, which had not been located, was released.
While the school was in lockdown, people found it difficult to shelter in place, as few of the doors had locks. This issue was previously brought up during deadly mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary School, where students and teachers also had to improvise locks to keep the doors to classrooms closed. Although some schools installed locks, more widespread adoption was hindered by "the cost to retrofit doors and local fire codes that require doors to open in one motion during emergencies".
Some schools and universities disagreed about the importance of door locks during active-shooter situations; the University of Colorado stated that it wanted students and teachers to rely on training instead of basic security measures like locks.
On June 3, two days after the shooting, the gunman's car was discovered by a bicyclist, in a residential area in Culver City, California. It contained multiple containers of gasoline and an additional handgun. The gunman used to live in Culver City, and police theorized that the gunman drove to and parked in Culver City, and then took a bus that he regularly used to get to UCLA when he attended as a student there. A bus transfer was also found on his body.
A UCLA task force launched to review the university's response to the incident, as well as a security analysis of the campus, would recommend "more frequent staff and student emergency-response training, more wardens to conduct emergency drills and a requirement that all faculty, staff and students provide cellphone numbers to the school so they could receive emergency-alert text messages."
UCLA students and campus leaders called for more research into “the increase of gun violence in American schools”, and announced its intention to create the UCLA Institute on Campus Violence to "utilize the university's research and public service capacity to study strategies to combat campus violence."
Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering William Scott Klug, June 19, 1976 – June 1, 2016, was married and had two children, and was described by students as humble and easily approachable. Klug had a master's degree and Ph.D. degrees at UCLA and the California Institute of Technology, respectively, and joined the UCLA faculty in 2003, heading the Klug Research Group studying "theoretical and computational biomechanics". Sarkar was a member of the research group while he was a doctoral student.
Ashley Erin Hasti, Sarkar's estranged wife, was found dead at her Brooklyn Park, Minnesota home the day following the shooting at UCLA after police in Los Angeles notified police in Minnesota of a note Sarkar left in his car asking authorities to check on his cat left at his home in St. Paul. Police found a broken window at the home, which they believe Sarkar used to make ingress to the house.
Sarkar met and dated Hasti while both were living in California and according to the Hennepin County, Minnesota Clerk's Office, married on July 14, 2011, but at the time of the murder, had been separated for some time and living apart. Hasti's grandmother described Sarkar as being polite and reserved, but unable to handle Hasti teasing him. Police believe Hasti had been dead for "maybe a couple of days" when the shooting at UCLA occurred.
Hasti graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in Asian languages and literature. She completed a post-baccalaureate pre-med program at Scripps College in Claremont, California, from 2009 to 2010. She met Sarkar while studying there, and married him in 2011.
At the time of her murder, Hasti was a medical student at the University of Minnesota Medical School, where she had been enrolled since 2012. A native of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Hasti attended North Hennepin Community College, and from 2011 to 2012, Hasti worked as a tutor at the community college. Ballistic tests indicated Klug and Hasti were both killed by the same handgun. A search of Sarkar's Minnesota apartment recovered more ammunition and a ballistic vest.
Mainak Sarkar, a former Ph.D student of Klug's, was identified as the gunman the day after the shooting. Sarkar was born and raised in Durgapur, in West Bengal, India. A schoolteacher there described Sarkar as "an ordinary boy. Very quiet. Extremely well behaved and obedient. Never causing any trouble to anyone."
According to various sources, Sarkar graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur in West Bengal, India, in 2000 with an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering, then traveled to the U.S. in 2001 on a student visa to pursue graduate studies where he attended Stanford University from 2003 to 2005, graduating with a master's degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering, then attended UCLA's engineering school from the fall of 2007 to the summer of 2013, graduating with a Ph.D. degree in solid mechanics. Professors at UCLA described him as "quiet and reserved" and said that he would not greet them when he passed by, and said that he left "little impression" in their classes. Sarkar became a permanent U.S. resident in May 2014. He lived in Culver City while attending UCLA, but sometime after graduating from the university, he moved to Minnesota.
At some point after his relocation to the U.S., Sarkar briefly worked as a research assistant at the University of Texas at Arlington and also as a software developer. After graduating from UCLA, he had been employed remotely as an engineering analyst for a rubber company in Ohio. He left his job in August 2014, according to a former coworker.
Sarkar maintained a personal blog called "thelongdarktunnel", since deleted. He had been making hostile comments about Klug on the internet, according to The Los Angeles Times. He called Klug a "very sick person" and accused him of stealing his code and giving it to another student. UCLA denied the accusation through a police official who stated that "This is the workings of his imagination." He was listed as Klug's teaching assistant in a mechanical and aerospace engineering class in 2010, and had expressed gratitude to Klug in his doctoral dissertation; Klug was also listed as his adviser.
Sarkar was one of only six doctoral students involved in the Klug Research Group, a computational biomechanics research group organized by Klug, that studied "continuum and multiscale methods to understand the mechanics of biological structures from the molecular and cellular scales upward," according to the group's website. A source familiar with both Sarkar and Klug said that Sarkar struggled with mental health problems, and they had compromised his work with the research group.
Police found a "kill list" at Sarkar's home in Saint Paul, Minnesota, which named another UCLA professor who was not identified but who police said was “alright”. The unidentified professor was off campus at the time of the shooting.
On June 8, 2016
in Boston, Massachusetts one student was killed and three other individuals were injured when gunfire erupted outside of the Jeremiah Burke High School following a fire-alarm causing an evacuation of the school. Two suspects were arrested.
On September 9, 2016
in Alpine, Texas a 14-year-old female student shot a 16-year-old girl in an Alpine High School restroom before committing suicide. A police officer also accidentally shot another officer during this incident.
On September 28, 2016
in Townville, South Carolina at the Townville Elementary School two students and one teacher were wounded by Jesse Osborne, aged 14. Osborne, who also shot and killed his father before the shooting, was arrested on charges of both murder and attempted murder.
The shooting started before 1:45 p.m., when Osborne drove into a fence of Townville Elementary School in a black pickup truck, got out of the truck, and began firing into the air near the school's playground with a .40-caliber pistol, repeatedly shouting, "I hate my life." He then jumped the fence and began firing at students.
Police received a 9-1-1 call on the shooting around 1:44 p.m. He was apprehended by a volunteer firefighter after his gun jammed on the playground, just 12 seconds after he first pulled the trigger. Osborne told police he threw his gun and his vest away after realizing he was "going to hell" and called his paternal grandparents in tears to confess what he had done.
A body, later identified as the suspect's father, was discovered at the family home by the Osborne's grandmother. An "unintelligible" call from Jesse Osborne motivated her to go to the home to look around.
One student was shot in the foot and a female teacher was shot in the shoulder. Another student suffered a superficial wound that did not require medical treatment. A third student, six-year-old Jacob Hall, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, which led to massive blood loss and then cardiac arrest. He was airlifted to Greenville Memorial Hospital and underwent surgery, and died on October 1, three days after he was shot by Osborne. A funeral was held for Jacob Hall on October 5 with a superhero theme.
Jesse Osborne was fourteen years old at the time of the shooting and had attended Townville Elementary School through fifth grade. He was known to be sociable and someone who did well in classes but at the time of the shooting, he was being homeschooled after being expelled from middle school for bringing in a hatchet and a machete earlier in the year.
Osborne was charged with two counts of murder, three counts of attempted murder and five counts of possessing a weapon. By federal statute, Osborne faced up to life in prison without parole. He was tried as an adult.
Several witnesses were called forward over the following two months, including an investigator who testified that Osborne had been influenced by an online chat-group of people "obsessed" with mass shootings, some of whom encouraged Osborne to commit one. Prior testimony from the investigator revealed that Osborne had been planning an attack for months through his internet searches.
After Osborne pled guilty, on November 13, 2019, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and was incarcerated in the Kirkland Correctional Institution. He is currently incarcerated in the Lieber Correctional Institution.
On October 11, 2016
in Mobile, Alabama a student was shot in the abdomen and wounded at Vigor High School. The suspect, a 16-year-old boy, turned himself in and was charged with assault.
On October 13, 2016
in Columbus, Ohio two students were shot and wounded on the front lawn of Linden McKinley STEM Academy. One was shot in the shoulder and the other shot in the chest; both were hospitalized in stable condition.
On October 18, 2016
in San Francisco, California four students were shot outside June Jordan High School for Equity, a San Francisco public high school. One female student victim was left in critical condition, and three male student victims suffered minor injuries. Several suspects were arrested but police did not reveal their identities.
On October 25, 2016
in Sandy, Utah police say two teens ages 14 and 16 had a confrontation on the far north end of Union Middle School. The boys got into an argument which lead the 14-year-old shooting the 16-year-old twice; he survived.
On December 1, 2016
in Bountiful, Utah at Mueller Park Junior High School, a 15-year-old student fired one shot into the ceiling and then pointed the weapon at his own neck. The student was confronted by a teacher and another student and was subsequently arrested in possession of a shotgun, a handgun, and ammunition. The student was was sentenced to spend time in a Juvenile Justice Services facility.
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