Special Report

The Worst Mass Shootings in America Last Year

A mass shooting in Farmington, New Mexico earlier this week left three people dead. It is only the latest such killing this year, which by all appearances is continuing where 2022 left off, in terms of large-scale gun violence.  

2022 was another historically horrific year for gun violence in the U.S. It was one of the worst on record in terms of the number of mass shootings and the number of injured or killed victims in these incidents. 2022 also broke the record for the largest number of fatal or nonfatal school shootings: 302 compared to 250 in 2021 and 114 in 2020.

Homicidal gun violence that involves multiple victims happens with such frequency in the United States that it can be a challenge to count or categorize these incidents. With no official consensus on what constitutes a mass shooting, estimates by governmental and nonprofit organizations can vary, sometimes by a considerable amount. 

According to a dataset by liberal news magazine Mother Jones that dates back to 1982, there were a dozen U.S. mass shootings in 2022 in which at least three victims were killed. At least 174 people were injured, and 74 others were killed in these incidents, excluding the perpetrators. Considering Mother Jones’ definition, this is a conservative figure. (Here are the states where gun deaths are increasing fastest.)

To find the worst mass shootings in the U.S. last year, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Mother Jones’ Mass Shootings study. Since 2013, Mother Jones has classified a mass shooting as a single attack in a public place in which three or more people were killed, not including the perpetrator. All other information came from the database. Incidents are the total number of fatalities from each event. We added supplemental information including the date, location, weapon types, and total victims. (School shootings include any incident involving a firearm at school, at any time.)

The most violent U.S. mass shooting last year, by any definition, was the May 24, Robb Elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, which claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers before the 18-year-old shooter was gunned down by police. Seventeen others were injured in that attack.

Two other U.S. mass shootings last year involved at least 30 casualties: the July 4 Highland Park parade shooting in Illinois in which seven people were murdered and 53 others were injured, and the Club Q gay nightclub shooting in Colorado Springs, in which five people were killed and 30 injured.

The Mother Jones research purposefully narrows the definition of mass shootings in an effort to filter out certain types of gun crime, such as gang-related or domestic violence. 

“Gang shootings at nightclubs or house parties are a problem,” the magazine’s national affairs editor Mark Follman wrote in 2015. “Ditto abusive men gunning down their families in their own homes – a problem that occurs far more frequently than is generally understood. … But while also important, these are distinct issues that require different analysis and solutions.” (Here are the most common gun-related crimes in each state.)

For its part, the New York Times published a “partial list” of 19 mass shootings in 2022. The nonprofit Gun Violence Archive group defines mass shootings more broadly: shooting in which four or more victims are killed or injured. In this broader definition, the GVA counted 635 U.S. mass shootings.

Here are the worst mass shootings in the USA last year.

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