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Notable Active Shooter Situations

In today's world, the threat of active shooter situations has unfortunately become a reality we must prepare for. As an advocate for public safety and preparedness, I provide A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooting Training to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to respond effectively in such critical incidents. 

My goal is to empower people to protect themselves and others in the event of an active shooter situation, ensuring that they are well-prepared to make life-saving decisions. 

Understanding the gravity of these events, it is important to look at some notable active shooter situations in the United States to grasp the impact and urgency of being prepared. To learn more about how you can be prepared, visit my A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooting Training page to sign up.

Notable Active Shooter Situations

Here are some notable active shooter situations in the United States:

Columbine High School (1999)

On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, became the site of a devastating school shooting. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, two senior students, executed a meticulously planned attack, killing 12 students and one teacher and injuring 24 others before committing suicide. The attack lasted approximately 49 minutes, and although police were on the scene quickly, confusion and lack of coordination delayed direct intervention. The response highlighted the need for improved active shooter protocols. In the aftermath, significant changes were made in law enforcement tactics, including the adoption of immediate action rapid deployment (IARD) strategies. Politically, the shooting spurred intense debate over gun control, bullying, and school safety, leading to various state and federal legislative efforts aimed at preventing similar tragedies.

Virginia Tech (2007)

On April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech student Seung-Hui Cho carried out one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. He first killed two students in a dormitory, then, two hours later, continued his rampage in an academic building, killing 30 more people and injuring 17 others before taking his own life. The entire incident lasted about two and a half hours. Police response was criticized for the delay between the initial shootings and the subsequent massacre. The tragedy led to a thorough review and overhaul of emergency response protocols at colleges and universities. Politically, it reignited debates on gun control and mental health care, resulting in the passage of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007, which aimed to strengthen background checks for gun purchases.

Fort Hood (2009)

On November 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, opened fire at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas. Hasan killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others before being shot and subdued by civilian police officers. The shooting lasted about 10 minutes. The incident raised significant concerns about internal security on military bases and led to reviews of mental health policies and screening processes for military personnel. Politically, the attack spurred debates about radicalization and the influence of extremist ideologies within the military, prompting changes in how the military monitors and addresses potential threats from within.

Aurora Theater Shooting (2012)

On July 20, 2012, James Holmes entered a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colorado, and opened fire, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. The attack lasted about seven minutes. Police arrived within minutes and apprehended Holmes outside the theater without further incident. The shooting led to renewed calls for stricter gun control laws, particularly concerning high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Politically, the event intensified the national debate on gun violence and mental health care, prompting some states to enact more stringent gun control measures while also highlighting the need for better mental health support systems.

Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012)

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, before taking his own life. The attack lasted approximately 11 minutes. Police arrived at the scene quickly but were unable to intervene before the massacre ended. The Sandy Hook shooting had a profound impact on national consciousness, leading to a significant push for gun control legislation. Politically, it resulted in President Obama signing 23 executive actions to curb gun violence and spurred efforts to pass stricter background checks and bans on assault weapons, though these measures faced significant opposition in Congress.

San Bernardino (2015)

On December 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a holiday party at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and injuring 22 others. The attack lasted a few minutes, and the perpetrators fled the scene. Police located and engaged the suspects in a shootout four hours later, killing both attackers. The incident was classified as an act of terrorism, prompting a reassessment of counterterrorism strategies and the role of social media in radicalization. Politically, it intensified debates over gun control, immigration, and the balance between security and privacy, particularly concerning encryption and access to digital communications.

Orlando Nightclub Shooting (2016)

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and injuring 53 others in what became the deadliest mass shooting by a single shooter in U.S. history at the time. The attack lasted for about three hours, including a standoff with police before Mateen was killed by a SWAT team. The shooting targeted the LGBTQ+ community, leading to widespread mourning and solidarity actions. Politically, it reignited discussions on gun control, terrorism, and LGBTQ+ rights. The tragedy prompted calls for stricter gun laws, particularly concerning assault weapons and the ease of access to firearms for individuals on watch lists.

Las Vegas Shooting (2017)

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, targeting attendees of the Route 91 Harvest music festival. Paddock killed 58 people and injured over 850 others in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. The attack lasted about 10 minutes. Police reached Paddock’s room more than an hour after he began shooting, finding him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The shooting led to increased scrutiny on bump stocks, devices that enable semi-automatic rifles to fire rapidly, and subsequently resulted in a federal ban on their sale and possession. Politically, the event intensified the national debate over gun control, with significant public pressure for legislative action.

Sutherland Springs Church (2017)

On November 5, 2017, Devin Patrick Kelley opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people and injuring 20 others. The attack lasted about seven minutes before Kelley was confronted and shot by a civilian outside the church, leading him to flee. Kelley was later found dead in his vehicle from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The incident highlighted failures in the military justice system, as Kelley’s prior conviction for domestic violence had not been reported to the federal database used for background checks. Politically, it spurred discussions on improving the background check system and the reporting of criminal records.

Parkland School Shooting (2018)

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others. The attack lasted about six minutes. Police apprehended Cruz about an hour after he fled the scene. The Parkland shooting galvanized a national movement led by students advocating for stricter gun control laws. Politically, it resulted in the passage of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act in Florida, which included provisions for raising the minimum age for purchasing firearms, implementing a waiting period, and allowing certain school staff to be armed. The shooting also reignited national debates on gun control and school safety.

Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting (2018)

On October 27, 2018, Robert Bowers entered the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring six others. The attack lasted about 20 minutes before Bowers was apprehended by police following a shootout. The shooting was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history. Politically, it led to increased calls for combating anti-Semitism and domestic terrorism. The event also reignited debates on gun control, hate crimes, and security measures for places of worship.

El Paso Walmart Shooting (2019)

On August 3, 2019, Patrick Crusius opened fire at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people and injuring 23 others. The attack lasted less than 10 minutes before Crusius surrendered to police. The shooting was classified as an act of domestic terrorism, with Crusius targeting Hispanic individuals. Politically, the attack intensified discussions on immigration, white nationalism, and gun control. It led to calls for stronger measures to combat domestic terrorism and hate crimes, as well as renewed efforts to implement stricter gun control laws.

Boulder Supermarket Shooting (2021)

On March 22, 2021, Ahmad Al Aliwi Al-Issa opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, killing 10 people, including a police officer who was among the first to respond. The attack lasted about an hour before Al-Issa was apprehended by police. The shooting renewed calls for stricter gun control measures, particularly regarding assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Politically, it led to the introduction of federal legislation aimed at tightening gun control, though these efforts faced significant opposition and debate.

Uvalde School Shooting (2022)

On May 24, 2022, Salvador Ramos killed 21 people, including 19 children and two teachers, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The attack lasted about 77 minutes before police intervened and killed Ramos. The delayed police response was widely criticized and led to calls for better training and protocols for handling active shooter situations. Politically, the Uvalde shooting intensified the debate on gun control, school safety, and mental health. It spurred renewed efforts to pass federal gun control legislation, including measures to raise the minimum age for purchasing certain firearms and to implement stronger background checks.


Reflecting on these tragic events underscores the importance of being prepared for such critical situations. Through A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooting Training, I am dedicated to providing comprehensive education and practical strategies to help you stay safe. By participating in this training, you can gain the confidence and skills needed to protect yourself and others during an active shooter event. 

Don't wait until it's too late—take action now and be prepared. For more information and to get started with your training, visit my A.L.I.V.E. Active Shooting Training page to sign up!

Reference List

  1. Columbine High School (1999)

  1. Virginia Tech (2007)

  1. Fort Hood (2009)

  1. Aurora Theater Shooting (2012)

  1. Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012)

  • "The Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting." FBI,

  • Sedensky, S. J. (2013). Report of the State’s Attorney for the Judicial District of Danbury on the Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and 36 Yogananda Street, Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.

  1. San Bernardino (2015)

  • U.S. Department of Justice. (2015). Report on the Investigation of the December 2, 2015, Attack in San Bernardino, California.

  • "San Bernardino Shooting: What Happened?" BBC News, BBC, 11 Dec. 2015,

  1. Orlando Nightclub Shooting (2016)

  1. Las Vegas Shooting (2017)

  1. Sutherland Springs Church (2017)

  1. Parkland School Shooting (2018)

  1. Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting (2018)

  1. El Paso Walmart Shooting (2019)

  1. Boulder Supermarket Shooting (2021)

  1. Uvalde School Shooting (2022)

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