Special Report

The Guns Used in the 20 Worst School Shootings in US History

Source: Klaus2 / Getty Images

15. Olean High School in Olean, NY (Dec. 30, 1974)
> Guns used: Remington .30-06-caliber rifle with telescopic sight, unknown 12-gauge shotgun
> Gun types: One rifle, one shotgun
> Gun obtained legally: Unknown
> Victims: 3 killed, 7 wounded

Anthony Barbaro, a champion rifle team member and honor student, began firing at random targets in the street from the third and fourth floor windows of Olean High School in New York, which was in recess for the holidays. He killed a janitor in the school, a man walking in the street, and a woman driving a car past the school. He wounded seven others, most of them firemen trying to retrieve the fatally wounded man in the street. After a 2.5-hour standoff, police stormed the school and seized Barbaro, who had thrown the guns out of the window.

School officials said there were no prior indications that Barbaro was capable of the atrocity. Police later found a detailed plan in a diary. Barbaro hanged himself in prison a year later.

14. Moses Montefiore Public School in Chicago, IL (Sep 22, 1988)
> Guns used: Unknown .38-caliber handgun
> Gun types: Handgun
> Gun obtained legally: Unknown
> Victims: 4 killed, 2 wounded

Clemie Henderson shot and killed two people in an auto parts store in Chicago, then fatally wounded a police officer and a custodian at Moses Montefiore Public School before he was killed by police. No students were injured. Witnesses said Henderson, a former Army soldier, carried with him anger from his time in Vietnam. Henderson, 40, who was under medication for depression, had a long list of criminal charges.

Source: Courtesy of Beretta USA

13. Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, WA (Oct 24, 2014)
> Guns used: .40-caliber Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact semi-automatic handgun
> Gun types: semi-automatic handgun
> Gun obtained legally: No — knowingly purchased illegally by father
> Victims: 4 killed, 3 wounded

Jaylen Fryberg, a 15-year-old boy, brought a group of fellow students to a lunch table at the Marysville Pilchuck High School cafeteria and then shot them in the head, one by one, to take them with him to “the other side.” Among the four fatalities was a cousin. Then Fryberg killed himself.

Before the horrific incident, Fryberg had sent a series of text messages, including telling his family how he wanted to be buried, and then apologizing to the families whose children he was about to kill. Fryberg may have become upset following a fight he had with a fellow student and a breakup with an ex-girlfriend.

Source: Courtesy of SIG SAUER

12. Oxford High School in Oxford, MI (Nov 30, 2021)
> Guns used: 9mm Sig Sauer SP 2022 pistol
> Gun types: semi-automatic handgun
> Gun obtained legally: Unclear — purchased by father, possibly as a gift (illegal for minors in MI to possess a firearm in most circumstances.)
> Victims: 4 killed, 7 wounded

Ethan Crumbley, a 15-year-old student at Oxford High School in Oxford, Michigan, killed four students and wounded six others and a teacher. Crumbley was arrested by police and pleaded guilty in October 2022 to terrorism and murder charges. He faces up to life in prison without parole.

Court filings revealed that Crumbley’s mother knew about her son’s unhealthy mental state when the parents bought him a gun the previous November. In an unusual action, prosecutors arrested the parents and accused them of giving their son easy access to a firearm and disregarding signs that he was a threat. They pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges.

Source: SolidMaks / Getty Images

11. Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, CA (May 1, 1992)
> Guns used: Unknown .22-caliber sawed-off rifle; unknown 12-gauge pump-action shotgun
> Gun types: One rifle, one shotgun
> Gun obtained legally: Yes — local gun retailer
> Victims: 4 killed, 10 wounded

Eric Houston, a 20-year-old dropout from Lindhurst High School in Olivehurst, California, who blamed his former history teacher, Robert Brens, for giving him a failing grade, returned to the school and killed Brens and three other students. Dressed in camouflage and brandishing a 12-gauge shotgun, a .22-caliber rifle over his back, and a band of ammunition on a belt, he also wounded 10 others. Then he took 80 students hostage for eight hours before surrendering to police.

Houston had been recently fired from an assembly line job and blamed the school and the teacher he killed for failing him. He planned the attack and waited until he got his unemployment check to buy more ammunition before the shooting. Apparently Houston had no previous mental health history. He was sentenced to death and is on death row in San Quentin State Prison in California.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.