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A Look At Mass Shootings In Texas Through The Years

Rudy Gutierrez
Associated Press
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers gather near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso on Saturday, Aug. 3. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police said.

Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso is the latest mass shooting to take place in Texas in recent years:

2019: El Paso

Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, Gov. Greg Abbott said. Among the possibilities being investigated is whether it was a hate crime, the police chief said. El Paso police confirmed the gunman is from Allen, a Dallas suburb. Police said another 26 people were injured and most were being treated at hospitals. Most of the victims were believed to have been shot at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall, they said, adding that the store was packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school shopping season.

2018: Santa Fe High School

In May 2018, a 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at a Houston-area high school, killing 10 people, most of them students. It was the nation’s deadliest such attack since a massacre three months earlier at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that gave rise to a campaign by teens for gun control. The suspected shooter, in custody on murder charges, also had explosive devices that were found in the school and nearby, said Gov. Abbott, who called the assault “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.” 

2017: First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs

Dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault weapon, 26-year-old Devin Kelley opened fire in November 2017 at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and wounding about 20 others. The gunman had a history of domestic violence and sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law, a member of First Baptist, before the attack in which he fired at least 450 rounds at helpless worshippers. The military acknowledged that it did not submit the shooter’s criminal history to the FBI, as required by the Pentagon. If his past offenses had been properly shared, they would have prevented him from buying a gun.

2017: Plano house party

In September 2017, nine people, including the suspect, died after a man opened fire during a gathering to watch football at a home in Plano, a suburb of Dallas. An officer responding to a report of shots fired confronted the suspected shooter and opened fire, killing the suspect. The officer approached the house from the back and saw bodies in the backyard before confronting the suspect inside.

2016: Dallas police ambush

The date of the police ambush, July 7, 2016, is defined as the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11 attacks. An Army veteran fatally shot four Dallas police officers and one transit officer before authorities killed him using a robot-delivered bomb. Nine other officers and two civilians were wounded. The shooting followed a peaceful demonstration featuring hundreds of people in downtown Dallas to protest recent fatal police shootings.

2015 Waco shootout

The shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015, left nine people dead and at least 20 injured. It involved rival biker gangs, the Bandidos and Cossacks, and occurred as bikers from various groups were gathering to talk over matters of concern. Fights and gunfire broke out. Waco police officers monitoring the gathering also fired on the bikers, killing at least two. Surveillance footage showed many bikers running from the scene and ducking for cover after gunshots rang out. A smaller number could be seen pointing and firing weapons, slinging a chain or participating in fistfights. Law enforcement officers recovered dozens of firearms, knives and other weapons from the restaurant and adjacent parking lot.

2014: Fort Hood

In April 2014, a soldier opened fire on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before killing himself at the same post where more than a dozen people were slain in a 2009 attack. The shooter served in Iraq in 2011.

2009: Fort Hood

The 2009 Fort Hood shooting rampage that killed 13 people and wounded more than 30. The shooter, an Army psychiatrist, acknowledged carrying out the attack at the Texas military base inside a crowded waiting room, where unarmed troops were making final preparations to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq.

1999: Wedgwood Baptist Church, Fort Worth

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports: “On Sept. 15, 1999, horror struck Fort Worth’s Wedgwood Baptist Church when Larry Gene Ashbrook invaded a youth rally carrying 200 rounds of ammunition and a pipe bomb. Before he turned his gun on himself, seven people were injured and seven others were dead.”

1991: Luby’s Cafeteria, Killeen

The Dallas Morning News reports on the 1991 shooting at Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen: “A gunman drove a blue Ford pickup through the front window, got out and started shooting. He killed 23 people ... before finally shooting himself. In its time, the massacre in Killeen was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.”

1980: Starburst Lounge, El Paso

USA Today reports: In 1980, a man “walked into the Starburst Lounge in El Paso and used a .22-caliber rifle to kill five people and injure three others. An account of the incident from an Associated Press story described how one customer at the bar grabbed [the man] while ‘another hit him with a pool cue and a third stepped into the path of a bullet to spare a woman’s life.’” 

1966: UT Tower, Austin

It was shortly before noon on a sweltering Monday morning, Aug. 1, 1966, when architectural engineering student and Marine-trained sniper Charles Whitman climbed to the observation deck of the 27-story clock tower in the heart of UT’s flagship Austin campus, armed with rifles, pistols and a sawed-off shotgun. He killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others before authorities gunned him down. He had killed his wife and mother prior to heading to the tower, one victim died in the hospital a week later and medical examiners eventually attributed a 17th death to Whitman in 2001 — a man who had been shot and wounded in his one functioning kidney and elected to stop dialysis treatment. The killing spree introduced the nation to the concept of a “mass shooting” outside the context of a military battlefield, coining a phrase in American lexicon that’s become chillingly commonplace.

This story includes material from The Associated Press.