It seemed unthinkable then. It’s all too common now.
“Never again” became the mantra a decade ago after a troubled young man with a high-powered Bushmaster rifle unleashed a bloodbath at the Sandy Hook Elementary School and left the nation in shock.
Since then, “Never again” has been made a lie 54 times by 54 school shootings involving active shooters, which have killed 101 and injured 156, while forever changing the lives of thousands more.
The 54 shootings, from murder-suicides to snipers to slaughters, happened across 25 states and Washington, D.C. Sometimes the shooter is an angry student, sometimes it’s an angry adult. Almost always the shooter is male. And despite the devastation, the prayerful vigils and the pleas for change, not a long time passes until another shooting occurs. In 2022 there were seven school shootings that met NBC News’ school shooting criteria, the most since 2018.
The following compilation comes from news reports, social media monitoring, the K-12 School Shooting Database, the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, law enforcement and government reports and press conferences, court records, our own reporting and other publicly available information. NBC News verified the details of each incident.
NBC News is revisiting all 54 of these shootings with the full knowledge that, by the time you read this, the tally may have changed again, and yet another community where the unthinkable happened will do what’s become commonplace — bury its children.
Here they are:
A high school student armed with a shotgun entered a classroom and opened fire. One student was wounded, another student was shot at and missed. The teacher convinced the shooter to drop his weapon. Taft, Calif., Jan. 10, 2013.
A student shot a financial aid officer a day after the student was told in a meeting that he was losing his financial assistance. St. Louis, Mo., Jan. 15, 2013.
A student opened fire at a satellite campus of his college located inside of a mall, shooting an employee and a student while they tried to escape. Christiansburg, Va., April 12, 2013.
A 23-year-old man, after killing his father and brother, used an AR-15 style rifle to carjack a ride to Santa Monica College, where he killed three more people. He died in an exchange of gunfire with police. Santa Monica, Calif., June 7, 2013.
A seventh grader walked onto campus before the start of school and opened fire, killing a teacher and injuring two students. He then walked off and killed himself. Sparks, Nev., Oct. 21, 2013.
A high school senior entered the school armed with a shotgun, a large hunting knife and three Molotov cocktails, according to a 2016 report on the incident. He fired three shots in the hallway, shooting a girl in the head, who later died from her injuries.The shooter entered the library looking for the head librarian, and ignited a Molotov cocktail before killing himself. Centennial, Colo., Dec. 13, 2013.
A seventh-grader pulled out a gun in the school gym and opened fire. He injured two before a teacher talked him into surrendering. Roswell, N.M., Jan. 14, 2014.
A teaching assistant walked into a college classroom and fatally shot and stabbed another teaching assistant in front of 12 students. West Lafayette, Ind., Jan. 21, 2014.
A man brought a shotgun to campus and opened fire, killing one and injuring two before a student safety monitor stopped him. Seattle, Wash., June 5, 2014.
A 14-year-old entered a gym locker room with a rifle, killing a classmate and injuring a teacher. Gunfire was exchanged with police officers before the student died by suicide in a restroom stall. Troutdale, Ore., June 10, 2014.
A freshman asked his friends to meet him in the cafeteria for lunch. There he shot five of them, killing four, before shooting and killing himself. Marysville, Wash., Oct. 24, 2014.
An alumnus opened fire at a Florida State University library, injuring three students. Police officers fatally shot the gunman on the library steps. Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 20, 2014.
A professor was shot and killed on campus by his ex-wife, who then killed herself. Columbia, S.C., Feb. 5, 2015.
A month after he was fired from his work-study job, a former student entered the campus building and killed his old boss. Goldsboro, N.C., April 13, 2015.
A professor fatally shot another professor in his office. Police chased the man, who then killed himself. His girlfriend was found dead elsewhere. Cleveland, Miss., Sept. 14, 2015.
A student shot and wounded his high school principal. The assistant principal tackled the shooter. Harrisburg, S.D., Sept. 30, 2015.
A 26-year-old student opened fire in and around a classroom, killing eight students and one teacher, and injuring eight others. The gunman later died by suicide. Roseburg, Ore., Oct. 1, 2015.
A freshman fatally shot her girlfriend and then herself on a patio near the cafeteria of an Arizona high school. Glendale, Ariz., Feb. 12, 2016.
In a school cafeteria at lunch, a 14-year-old boy shot and injured two students. Shrapnel injured a third and a fourth was hurt while escaping. Middletown, Ohio, Feb. 29, 2016.
A former student shot and injured two others who were leaving their prom. A faculty member exchanged gunfire with the shooter, who was hit and later died. Antigo, Wis., April 23, 2016.
After killing his wife in their home, a former doctoral college student went to a former professor's campus office and killed the professor, then died by suicide. Los Angeles, Calif., June 1, 2016.
Gunfire erupted in a Texas high school at 9 a.m.; the female student suspected of shooting a classmate died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. Alpine, Texas, Sept. 8, 2016.
A 14-year-old boy shot a teacher and two young students at an elementary school, one of whom was critically wounded and died days later. The suspect’s grandmother later found the boy’s father shot dead at his home. Townville, S.C., Sept. 28, 2016.
A high school student shot and critically injured a student in the bathroom and then entered the hallway and fired additional shots into classrooms. A second student was mildly injured by a pellet. West Liberty, Ohio, Jan. 20, 2017.
A gunman opened fire inside his estranged wife’s elementary school classroom, killing her and one of her young students, and injuring another student before turning a revolver on himself. San Bernardino, Calif., April 10, 2017.
A student armed with several weapons opened fire at a high school, killing a classmate who tried to reason with him and wounding three others before being captured. Rockford, Wash., Sept. 13, 2017.
A freshman pulled out a gun in the cafeteria to shoot a girl he had been arguing with earlier. He didn't see her so he fired at others, injuring two students before a teacher lunged and pointed the gun up as it was fired again. Mattoon, Ill., Sept. 20, 2017.
A gunman in a rural part of Northern California killed four people and targeted an elementary school but was thwarted by a lockdown procedure, before continuing the rampage that led to his death. One child in the school was shot when a bullet pierced the wall of the classroom. Corning, Calif., Nov. 14, 2017.
Students hid in their classrooms, some behind locked doors, as a suspect opened fire inside a high school. He killed two students before dying by suicide. Aztec, N.M., Dec. 7, 2017.
A teenage girl was wounded at a high school after a 16-year-old ex-boyfriend opened fire with a handgun; he shot at a second student but missed. Italy, Texas, Jan. 22, 2018.
Two students were killed and 14 other people were wounded by gunfire when a 15-year-old boy armed with a handgun opened fire inside a high school. Benton, Ky., Jan. 23, 2018.
Seventeen students and faculty members were killed and 17 were injured in an attack by a former student who entered the high school and opened fire in a hallway and in classrooms. Parkland, Fla., Feb. 14, 2018.
One teen died and another was injured after a student opened fire with a handgun in the hallway at a high school. A school officer shot the assailant in the hand, as he was shooting himself. Great Mills, Md., March 20, 2018.
A former student brought a sawed-off shotgun to school and put on tactical gear with the intent to carry out a mass shooting. After firing through a door and injuring a student, the shooter stopped shooting and surrendered to a nearby teacher, according to an arrest affidavit. Ocala, Fla., April 20, 2018.
A 14-year-old emerged from a school bathroom with a rifle, pointed it at students and told them to run. He fired the gun 10 times, shooting a boy in the arm. Palmdale, Calif., May 11, 2018.
A 17-year-old student dressed in a trenchcoat and armed with a shotgun and a pistol barged inside a high school classroom and opened fire, killing 10 people and injuring 13. Santa Fe, Texas, May 18, 2018.
A 13-year-old middle schooler, after being excused from science class, returned with two handguns and opened fire. He injured a student and a teacher, who helped end the shooting. Noblesville, Ind., May 25, 2018.
A special education assistant was shot after approaching a man who had entered the school. Baltimore, Md., Feb. 7, 2019.
An eighth-grader brought a concealed weapon to school and shot a fellow classmate in what police described as a "premeditated attack." Prescott, Ark., April 1, 2019.
Two people were killed and four injured after a 22-year-old man walked into a university classroom and opened fire in the middle of class. Charlotte, N.C., April 30, 2019.
Two students carried out a shooting in a high school classroom, killing one and injuring eight*. Highlands Ranch, Colo., May 7, 2019.
A 16-year-old student opened fire at his high school, killing two and wounding three. Santa Clarita, Calif., Nov. 14, 2019.
A 12-year-old student shot a classmate in the gym in front of a class. Henderson, N.C., Nov. 24, 2020.
A sixth-grade girl pulled out a gun from her backpack and shot three people before a teacher disarmed her. Rigby, Idaho, May 6, 2021.
A 13-year-old student shot and killed another in the schoolyard at lunch after the victim asked the shooter to stop bullying his friends. Albuquerque, N.M., Aug. 13, 2021.
A former student shot his way into a school, grazing the principal in their back. Houston, Texas, Oct. 1, 2021.
A 15-year-old sophomore shot 11 people, killing four. Oxford Township, Mich., Nov. 30, 2021.
A campus police officer and a safety officer were fatally shot after they approached a suspicious person who turned out to be a former student. Bridgewater, Va., Feb. 1, 2022.
An assistant principal and a resource officer were injured at a high school after an 18-year-old student took out a gun and fired it in the principal's office. Olathe, Kan., March 4, 2022.
A shooter in a sniper-type setup injured four after firing more than 200 bullets at a school. Washington, D.C., April 22, 2022.
Nineteen students and two teachers were killed after an 18-year-old opened fire in an elementary school. Seventeen others were injured. Uvalde, Texas, May 24, 2022.
A former student shot and killed his former professor in a campus building. Tucson, Ariz., Oct. 5, 2022.
A student and a teacher were killed and four other students shot at a high school. Armed with a long gun, the assailant engaged in a shootout with police and was later pronounced dead. St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 24, 2022.
A college student shot five people in a school bus after returning from a field trip, killing three. Charlottesville, Va., Nov. 13 2022.