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Mass Killing Total In U.S. Highest Ever In Year's First 4 Months

Four people were found shot to death in an RV in a small California Mojave Desert community. Four partygoers were slain and 32 injured in small-town Alabama during a Sweet 16 birthday that ended with a girl kneeling beside her fatally wounded brother. Six people, included three 9-year-old children, were gunned down at an elementary school in Nashville. The discovery this week of seven people found shot to death in rural Oklahoma is keeping the U.S. on a steady pace for mass killings in 2023 and could push the number of people slain past 100 for the year, reports the Associated Press. The Mojave slayings over the weekend were the 19th mass killing of the year, according to a database maintained by the Associated Press and USA Today in a partnership with Northeastern University. That is the most during the first four months of the year since data were first recorded in 2006.


Before the Oklahoma case, 97 people had been killed in the 19 mass killings this year, exceeding the record set in 2009 when 93 people were killed in 17 incidents by the end of April. The number killed is a small fraction of the total number of people who died by homicide for the year. The database counts killings involving four or more fatalities, not including the perpetrator, the same standard as the FBI. “Nobody should be shocked,” said Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 people killed at a Parkland, Fla., high school in 2018. “I visit my daughter in a cemetery. Outrage doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.” The Parkland victims are among the 2,851 people who have died in mass killings in the U.S. since 2006. The 2023 numbers stand out even more compared with the tally for full-year totals since data was collected. The U.S. recorded 30 or fewer mass killings in more than half of the years in the database, so to be at 19 a third of the way through is remarkable. “Here’s the reality: If somebody is determined to commit mass violence, they’re going to,” said Jaclyn Schildkrautof the Rockefeller Institute of Government’s Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium. “And it’s our role as society to try and put up obstacles and barriers to make that more difficult.”

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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