Special Report

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

Source: Courtesy of Browning

10. West Nickel Mines School in Nickel Mines, PA (Oct 2, 2006)
> Guns used: Springfield Armory XD 9mm handgun, Browning BPS 12 gauge pump-action shotgun, Ruger M77 .30-06 bolt-action rifle
> Gun types: One semi-automatic handgun, one rifle, one shotgun
> Gun obtained legally: Yes — purchased at local stores in Nickel Mines, Penn.
> Victims: 5 killed, 5 wounded

Heavily armed and with supplies recently purchased to be used for a siege, Charles Carl Roberts IV, 32, entered the West Nickel Mines School in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, an Amish school, and barricaded the door. He released male students and older women and tied girl students’ feet together. Roberts called his wife and told her he was not coming home and that he left notes for her and their children. State police arrived and tried to talk him out of the perilous situation. Roberts demanded that the police leave in 10 seconds. Moments later, shots rang out — Roberts shot five girls ages 7 to 13 to death, wounded five others, and killed himself.

Police speculated that the shooting was to avenge something that had happened to Roberts when he was 12 years old. Roberts also claimed he had molested some young family members long ago. State Police Commissioner Col. Jeffrey B. Miller said, “He was an angry man – angry with life, angry at God.” The West Nickel Mines school was demolished and less than a year later, the New Hope School opened 200 yards away.

Source: NoDerog / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

9. Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, AR (Mar 24, 1998)
> Guns used: Remington 742 .30-06 rifle, Universal .30 M1 Carbine replica, Smith & Wesson .38 revolver, Double Deuce Buddie .22 two-shot derringer, Star .380 pistol, FIE .380 pistol, Ruger Security Six .357 revolver, Davis Industries .38 two-shot derringer, Charter Ar
> Gun types: Two semi-automatic handguns, two rifles, three revolvers, two derringers
> Gun obtained legally: No — stolen from grandfather and father
> Victims: 5 killed, 10 wounded

Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed five people and wounded 10 others in a school shooting at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in 1998. Johnson took his parents’ car, and he and Golden went to Golden’s grandparents house where they knew guns were unlocked. After excusing himself from his classroom to use the bathroom, Golden pulled a fire alarm and ran outside to join Johnson at a nearby construction site. From that vantage point, they had nine weapons and opened fire on the students and teachers as they filed out of the school. Four students ages 11 and 12 and a teacher were killed, and nine students and a teacher were wounded. The boys later surrendered to police.

Both boys were known bullies who aspired to join street gangs. They were released when they turned 21 because of state laws. Johnson was arrested shortly after his release for drug possession, having an unregistered handgun, and theft.

Source: Courtesy of Taurus International Manufacturing, Inc

8. Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA (Jan 17, 1989)
> Guns used: 9mm Taurus semi-automatic handgun, Norinco Type 56 AKM-type semi-automatic rifle
> Gun types: One semi-automatic handgun, one assault-style rifle
> Gun obtained legally: Yes — purchased at Sandy Trading Post in Sandy, Ore.; Hunter Loan and Jewelry Co. in Stockton, Calif.
> Victims: 5 killed, 30 wounded

The massacre of five children ages 6 to 9 at the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, California, was a hate crime. It was committed by Patrick Purdy, a white man and drifter who had had run-ins with the law. Pury had attended the school years earlier and according to those who knew him complained about the increase in Asians in the community. The school’s student body was largely Cambodian and Vietnamese.

Purdy lit a van of fireworks near the school on fire and then shot students as they exited the building, killing five and wounding 30 other people before turning the gun on himself. The massacre led to the California legislature ban of assault-style weapons, and then to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which took effect in 1994 before the legislation sunset 10 years later.

Source: JamesYetMingAu-Photography / iStock via Getty Images

7. Covenant School in Nashville, TN (Mar 27, 2023)
> Guns used: AR-15 military-style rifle, 9mm Kel-Tec SUB2000 pistol caliber carbine, 9mm Smith and Wesson M&P Shield EZ 2.0 handgun
> Gun types: One semi-automatic rifle, one semi-automatic handgun
> Gun obtained legally: Yes
> Victims: 6 killed, 1 wounded

The most recent school shooting tragedy took place at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. The attacker was Audrey Hale, a 28-year-old former student who was under care for an emotional disorder. Three students and three adults were slain at the private Christian school, an attack that lasted about 14 minutes before the shooter was shot and killed by police. No apparent motive has been determined. Nashville police said that after meeting with the shooter’s parents and school officials, they have yet to uncover any issues or problems in the assailant’s past.

Source: Courtesy of GLOCK

6. Red Lake Senior High School in Red Lake, MN (Mar 21, 2005)
> Guns used: Ruger MK II .22 caliber pistol, .40 caliber Glock 23 pistol, Remington 870 12 gauge pump-action shotgun
> Gun types: Two semi-automatic handguns, one shotgun
> Gun obtained legally: No — glock and remington stolen from grandfather
> Victims: 9 killed, 5 wounded

Jeffrey Weise, 16, started Minnesota’s worst mass murder by first killing his grandfather, a tribal police officer, and his grandfather’s companion. Then he donned his grandfather’s Kevlar vest and took his grandfather’s squad car to Red Lake Senior High School. He shot to death an unarmed security guard, a teacher, and five students. Weise and police exchanged gunfire and Weise was hit in the abdomen and arm. He retreated to a classroom and shot himself.

Weise was obsessed with Columbine and dressed like the Columbine killers, wearing a black trenchcoat and dark makeup. School officials knew of his violent journal online entries where he wrote about mass shootings. Apparently, Weise told other students about his plan to attack the school. His father had committed suicide and Weise’s mother was severely injured in car accident. He was in the custody of grandparents.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.