The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A timeline of the deadliest shootings in American history

Concerned friends and family of victims at the Pulse nightclub, where multiple fatalities were reported after a shooting, wait outside of the Orlando Police Department. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Details on the mass slaying in Orlando that occurred early Sunday morning aren’t yet finalized, but officials have confirmed that at least 50 people were killed in the incident at the Pulse nightclub in that city. Dozens more were reported injured. Even if that fatality figure remains the same, it surpasses by a wide margin the previous record: the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech University, in which 33 people died.

Using numbers compiled by our colleague Chris Ingraham, the Los Angeles Times and the Orlando Sentinel and figures from other incidents over time, we created this list of deadly shootings that stretches back to the 1940s. (If we missed any, please let us know.) Definitions can vary; some outlets don’t consider killings that occurred in multiple locations to be part of the overall total. Here, we’ve included them.

  • 1949, Camden, N.J. 13 killed. Howard Unruh, a World War II veteran, walks the streets of Camden killing random people.
  • 1966, Austin. 18 killed. Charles Whitman fires from a tower on the University of Texas campus.
  • 1982, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 13 killed. George Banks kills five of his children and 8 other people.
  • 1984, San Ysidro, Calif. 21 killed. James Huberty enters a McDonald’s and begins shooting.
  • 1986, Edmond, Okla. 14 killed. Postal worker Patrick Sherrill kills 14 people at his workplace.
  • 1990, Jacksonville, Fla. 10 killed. James Pough kills 8 people after his car is repossessed. He'd killed two others earlier.
  • 1991, Killeen, Tex. 23 killed. George Hennard drives his truck into a cafeteria and then opens fire.
  • 1999, Littleton, Colo. 13 killed. The shooting at Columbine High School is the deadliest high school shooting to date.
  • 1999, Atlanta. 12 killed. Mark Barton kills nine people at brokerage firms after having killed three relatives.
  • 2005, Red Lake, Minn. 9 killed. Jeffrey Weise kills members of his family and then students at a local high school.
  • 2007, Blacksburg, Va. 32 killed. Until Sunday, the 32 people killed by Seung Hui Cho at Virginia Tech was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
  • 2009, Fort Hood, Tex. 13 killed. Nidal Hasan kills 13 people at the Army base.
  • 2009, Binghamton, N.Y. 13 killed. Jiverly Wong murders 13 people at a small immigrant services center.
  • 2009, Geneva County, Ala. 10 killed. Michael McClendon kills 10 people, including a baby, in rural Alabama.
  • 2012, Newtown, Conn. 27 killed. Adam Lanza’s spree at Sandy Hook Elementary included the murder of 20 children.
  • 2012, Aurora, Colo. 12 killed. James Holmes opens fire during a late-night movie screening.
  • 2013, Washington. 12 killed. Aaron Alexis kills a dozen people with a shotgun.
  • 2015, San Bernardino, Calif. 14 killed. Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, kill more than a dozen people during a holiday party.
  • 2015, Roseburg, Ore. 9 killed. Chris Mercer kills nine in a shooting at a community college in Oregon.
  • 2015, Charleston, S.C. 9 killed. Dylann Roof attends a prayer meeting at a historic black church in Charleston before opening fire.
  • 2016, Orlando. 50 killed. The attack at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando is the deadliest in U.S. history.

Notice that the number of such incidents has become more frequent in recent years. Two years ago, The Post’s fact-checkers looked at how the number of mass shooting incidents has increased steadily since the 1970s — perhaps making a new record inevitable.

As of writing, there are still outstanding questions on motive, the scale of the damage and repercussions. We can simply say that this is the deadliest shooting incident in American history — and note that the last day in which so many people were killed in one location on U.S. soil because of gunfire was likely during the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee.