After a significant drop in mass shootings in the United States during a pandemic-hit 2020, this year has already seen several deadly cases.
Police in Indianapolis say eight people were shot and killed in a shooting late Thursday at a FedEx facility. The shooter also killed himself.
It follows a lull in mass killings during the pandemic in 2020, which had the smallest number of such attacks in more than a decade, according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University. That database tracks mass killings defined as four or more dead, not including the shooter.
President Joe Biden last week announced a half-dozen executive actions to combat what he called an “epidemic and an international embarrassment” of gun violence in America. But he said much more is needed.
Eight people were killed by a gunman at three Atlanta-area massage businesses in attacks that began the evening of March 16. Seven of the slain were women, and six were of Asian descent. Police charged a 21-year-old white man with the killings. There was deep skepticism over the shooter’s claim his motive was sex addiction. There was public clamoring for hate crime charges, especially among the Asian American community, which has faced rising numbers of attacks since the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
About a week later, on March 22, a shooter at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, killed 10 people, including a police officer who was the first to respond to the scene. The suspect bought a firearm at a local gun store after passing a background check. Investigators are working to determine the motive for the shooting and why the suspect chose the King Soopers grocery store.
On March 31, a gunman killed four people and critically wounded a fifth at a Southern California office building. He knew all the victims. Apparently before opening fire, he chained shut the gates to two entrances, delaying police from getting inside. Among the victims was a 9-year-old boy who was found cradled in the arms of a woman believed to be his mother. The woman was the only survivor among those shot. The others killed were a man and two women.
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA
A week later, on April 7, former NFL player Phillip Adams shot six people. Robert Lesslie, a prominent doctor, was killed along with his wife, two of their grandchildren and two air conditioning technicians who were working at their home. Adams also killed himself. His brain is now being examined for possible degenerative disease that has been shown to cause violent mood swings and other cognitive disorders in some athletes and members of the military.
This story has been updated to correct that the Gun Violence Archive did not register a decline in its tally of mass shootings — which includes non-fatal shootings — between 2019 and 2020. It did register a fall in what it calls mass murders.