Tuesday night’s massacre in Maine, in which as many as 22 people were killed and dozens more injured, ranks among the top ten most deadly mass shootings in US history.
At the time of writing, the suspect in Tuesday’s shooting, that took place in the community of Lewiston, Robert Card, 40, remains-at-large.
The gunman opened fire at the Sparetime Bowling Alley around 7:15 pm, he then moved on to a second location, Schemengees Bar, to continue the rampage around 8:00 pm.
There is no consensus on what constitutes a mass shooting. The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an attack in which four or more people are injured.
The FBI defines a mass shooting as ‘one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area’ – a different metric to most organizations who consider the number of victims to define it as such.
There are about 120 guns for every 100 Americans, according to the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey.
No other nation has more civilian guns than people, with around 44 percent of US adults living in a household with a gun.
In 2023 alone, there have already been 565 such shootings, taking the lives of 15,000 people.
These are the most deadly shootings in American history:
1. Las Vegas country music concert shooting – October 1, 2017 – 61 dead, 867 injured
Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of a hotel-casino
His weapons were seen laying in the bathroom and around the hotel room. A dozen of Paddock’s weapons were modified with rapid-fire ‘bump stocks,’ attachments that effectively convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons
Stephen Paddock opened fire on an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas Strip from the 32nd floor of a hotel-casino, killing 58 people and wounding more than 500.
SWAT teams with explosives then stormed his room and found he had killed himself.
Paddock’s motives have never been firmly established. Some said that he was influenced by his father’s criminal history, some said that he had issues with his brain.
His girlfriend later called him a ‘a kind, caring, quiet man.’
2. Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando – June 12, 2016 – 50 dead, 58 injured
All 49 of the innocent victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting
Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 people during an attack on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando
Omar Mateen opened fire at an Orlando, Florida, nightclub, killing 49 people. Mateen was later killed in a shootout with police.
FBI officials later said that Mateen had been ‘leaning’ towards radical Islamic beliefs. Some said that he was a regular at Pulse and others said that they had seen him on gay dating apps. Homophobia is thought to have been a motive in his attack.
3. Virginia Tech shooting – April 16, 2007 – 33 dead, 23 injured
Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho, the deadliest college shooter of all time
Police officers gather in front of McBryde Hall on the campus of Virginia Tech University on that fateful day
Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in separate attacks on campus before killing himself.
Cho, a native of South Korea, used two pistols during the killings. The violence at the school ended when he shot himself in the head. In a manifesto that was made public after the violence, Cho said that he had been pushed ‘into a corner.’
4. Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting – December 14, 2012 – 28 dead, 2 injured
The 20 children who were killed in the Sandy Hook mass shooting. Top row (L to R): Ana Marquez-Greene, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Emilie Parker, Noah Pozner. Second row: (L to R): Jesse Lewis, Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Charlotte Bacon, Chase Kowalski. Third row (L to R): Daniel Barden, Jack Pinto, Catherine Hubbard, Dylan Hockley, Benjamin Wheeler. Bottom row (L to R): Grace McDonnell, James Mattioli, Avielle Richman, Madeleine Hsu, Allison Wyatt
The adult victims of the Sandy Hook shooting included (L to R): Teacher Rachel Davino, 29, para professional Anne Marie Murphy, 52, and permanent substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau, 30
Sandy Hook elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, was later demolished after the massacre
In Newtown, Connecticut, an armed 20-year-old man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and used a semi-automatic rifle to kill 26 people, including 20 first-graders and six adult school staff members. He then killed himself.
The shooter, Adam Lanza, earlier shot his own mother dead in her bed before traveling to the school.
In the years that followed, the shooting remained in the news as conspiracy theorist Alex Jones maintained that the shootings had been a ‘false flag’ operation perpetrated by the US government.
As a result of his claims, Jones was ordered to pay the victim’s families billions of dollars in court.
5. Sutherland Springs church shooting – November 5, 2017 – 27 dead, 22 injured
Devin Patrick Kelley arrived at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, prepared for war, with AR-style weapon while wearing tactical gear
Devin Patrick Kelley, who had been discharged from the Air Force after a conviction for domestic violence, used an AR-style firearm to shoot up a congregation at a small church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing more than two dozen.
It was later discovered that Kelley had a violent history, including in 2012 when he broke the skull of his stepson.
Kelley was later described as an ‘outcast’ but authorities ruled out race or religious motivations for his heinous crime.
6. Luby’s shooting, Killeen, Texas – October 16, 1991 – 23 dead, 27 injured
The scene at Luby’s cafeteria in the aftermath of George Hennard’s massacre
George Hennard drove his pickup truck though the front window of Luby’s restaurant in Killeen, Texas, and then fatally shot 23 people, wounded 27 others and then killed himself after a shootout with police.
Hennard was later found to have had problems with women and believed that white women were conspiring not to date him. Witnesses later said that he passed over men during his attack in order to shoot women.
The gunman worked as a merchant seaman and had recently lost his job when marijuana was found in his locker.
One of his drinking buddies told The New York Times that Hennard was a nice guy but that he would say ‘crazy things’ when he was drunk.
7. El Paso Walmart shooting – August 3, 2019 – 23 dead, 23 injured
Patrick Crusius , 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, making it one of the America’s largest hate crime cases.
This CCTV image courtesy of KTSM 9 News Channel, shows the gunman identified as Patrick Crusius, 24, entering the Cielo Vista Walmart store in El Paso on August 3, 2019. – The 21-year-old Texan who killed 23 people in a racist rampage
Patrick Crusius, 24, who killed 23 people in a racist attack on Hispanic shoppers at a Walmart in a Texas border city was sentenced in July to 90 consecutive life sentences but could still face more punishment, including the death penalty.
Crusius pleaded guilty earlier this year to nearly 50 federal hate crime charges in the 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, making it one of the U.S. government’s largest hate crime cases.
Crusius, wearing a jumpsuit and shackles, did not speak during the hearing and showed no reaction as the sentence was read. U.S. District Judge David Guaderrama recommended that Crusius serve his sentence at a maximum security prison in Colorado and receive treatment and counseling for a severe mental health condition.
8. San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre – July 18, 1984 – 23 dead, 19 injured
James Huberty drove to a McDonald’s in the San Ysidro neighborhood of San Diego, California, armed with an Uzi submachine gun, a shotgun and a handgun. He shot and killed 21 people, injured 19 and then was killed by a police sniper.
Huberty, 41, was described as an angry loner who had lost his job as a welder when the shooting took place.
9. Robb Elementary School shooting – May 24, 2022 – 22 dead, 18 injured
Deranged gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, continued to massacre students while police waiting outside at Robb Elementary School in 2022
The fallout from the shooting saw outrage and investigations as it emerged that armed police who arrived at the school waiting on campus before engaging Ramos
The mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, shook the nation as 18-year-old gunman Salvador Ramos drove to the school and opened fire, killing 21 people. He was eventually shot dead by a responding officer.
The fallout from the shooting saw outrage and investigations as it emerged that armed police who arrived at the school waiting on campus before engaging Ramos. As they waited, the deranged gunman continued his massacre.
10. Lewiston, Maine shootings – October 24, 2023 – At least 18 dead
At the time of writing, the person of interest in the Lewiston, Maine, shooting remains at large
The scene on Tuesday night in Maine as police searched for Robert Card
Tuesday’s shooting is the most deadly in the US this year.
It’s not clear how many have been killed with officials confirming that at least 20 have lost their lives at the two scenes.
Follow for the latest updates here.
11. University of Texas tower shooting – August 1, 1966 – 18 dead, 31 injured
Model student Charles Whitman opened fire on the public from a clock tower at the University of Texas in August 1966
A model student and Eagle Scout who went on to become a Marine sharpshooter, Charles Whitman took to the observation deck atop the Main Building tower at the University of Texas and shot 13 people.
11. Parkland High School shooting – February 14, 2017 – 17 dead, 17 injured
The deadliest high school shooter of all time, Nikolas Cruz, pictured during his trial in 2022
Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It surpassed Columbine High School as the deadliest shooting at a high school in U.S. history.
Cruz’s attorneys contended during his trial that his birth mother’s heavy drinking during pregnancy left him with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, causing brain dysfunctions that led to lifelong episodes of bizarre, erratic and sometimes violent conduct that culminated with the shootings.
13. Fort Hood shooting – November 5, 2009 – 14 dead, 33 injured
Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist,killed 14 people in Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009
Thirteen soldiers and civilians were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a gunman walked into the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, and opened fire. The shooter Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, was convicted on 13 counts of premeditated murder and sentenced to death.
14. San Bernardino terrorist attack – December 2, 2015 – 16 dead, 24 injured
Syed Rizwan Farook, left, and a photo of Tashfeen Malik, the married couple that committed a terrorist massacre in San Bernardino, California in 2015
Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, opened fire at a social services center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding more than 20. They fled the scene but died hours later in a shootout with police.
15. Edmond, Oklahoma, post office shooting- August 20, 1986 – 15 dead, 6 injured
Postal worker Patrick Sherrill shot 20 co-workers, killing 14 of them, in Edmond, Oklahoma. He then committed suicide.
Sherill’s actions resulted in the worst workplace shooting in US history and the incident gave rise to the phrase ‘going postal.’ It was later found that he was about to be fired from his job. He was described as a ‘mediocre mailman.’
16. Columbine High School shooting – April 12, 1999 – 15 dead, 24 injured
An infamous image showing teenage gunmen Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold in middle of their 1999 massacre in the canteen of Columbine High School
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people in a meticulously planned attack that involved a firebomb used as a diversion and and stacks of explosives laid around their high school.
The pair shot and killed 12 students and one teacher in an attack that reignited the US gun control policy.
The shooting sparked a huge debate about the influence of heavy metal music, such as Marilyn Manson, and violent video games such as Doom, were having on America’s youth.
Investigations discovered that Harris was obsessed by war and that Klebold was an angry social misfit.
The pair’s actions led to the anti-gun documentary Bowling for Columbine which highlighted the popularity of guns among Americans.
17. Binghamton, New York – April 3, 2009 – 14 dead, 4 injured
Linh Voong, aka. Jiverly Wong, the gunman who killed 13 people in a rampage at an immigrant community center in April 2009
The deadliest shooting in New York state history saw gunman Jiverly Antares Wong, 41, open fire on people taking a class on American citizenship in the city of Binghamton in the upstate section of the Empire State.
Wong, whose motives were reported to have been the disrespect he suffered due to his poor English skills, took the lives of 13 people.
Neighbours said he was troubled by the break-up of his marriage and told how he hated America.
Records revealed that he had been sued for divorce by a woman, who in July 2005 obtained a restraining order against him.
Last year, he took a job on an assembly line at a factory in Binghamton. His parents own a shabby wooden house in a nearby suburb.
Neighbour, Mahmoon Shafi, 53, said Voong was deeply troubled by the break-up of his marriage.
‘He was a very nice guy, but he seemed very, very depressed,’ said Mr Shafi.
18. Camden, New Jersey shooting – September 6, 1949 – 13 dead, 3 injured
Howard Unruh, known as America’s first mass shooter, killed 13 people as he walked through his neighborhood in Camden, New Jersey, in 1949. The media dubbed the event the ‘Walk of Death.’
After his arrest, Unruh spent the rest of his life in Trenton Psychiatric Hospital after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and deemed unfit to face trial for the murders. He died in 2009.
19. Wilkes-Barre shootings – September 25, 1982 – 13 dead, 1 injured
The 1982 Wilkes-Barre shooting remains the deadliest in the history of Pennsylvania. Former prison guard George Banks opened fire on members of his own family, killing seven children, five of his own, as well as their mothers and other relatives.
Banks later confessed to a friend that his motive was that he did not ‘to grow up in a white racist world.’
20. Wah mee Seattle shooting – February 18, 1985 – 13 dead, 1 injured
An attempted robbery of a gambling club in Seattle’s Chinatown became the deadliest shooting in Washington state history when three men, Kwan Fai ‘Willie’ Mak, Wai Chiu ‘Tony’ Ng and Keung Kin ‘Benjamin’ Ng.
The trio raided that Wah Mee club, tied up, robbed and shot the patrons inside. Police were able to arrive and arrest the gunmen when someone inside was able to alert people who were trying to get into the club.