Sutherland Springs church shooting
The Sutherland Springs church shooting was a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, about 30 miles east of the city of San Antonio, on November 5, 2017. The gunman, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley of nearby New Braunfels, killed 26 and injured 20 others.
- AR-15 style rifles have been the weapon of choice in many recent mass shootings, including the Texas church shooting Sunday, the Las Vegas concert last month, the Orlando nightclub last year and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Here is a list of mass shootings in the U.S. that featured AR-15-style rifles during the last 35 years, courtesy of the Stanford Geospatial Center and Stanford Libraries and USA TODAY research:
Feb. 24, 1984: Tyrone Mitchell, 28, used an AR-15, a Stoeger 12-gauge shotgun and a Winchester 12-gauge shotgun to kill two and wound 12 at 49th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles before killing himself.
Oct. 7, 2007: Tyler Peterson, 20, used an AR-15 to kill six and injure one at an apartment in Crandon, Wis., before killing himself.
June 20, 2012: James Eagan Holmes, 24, used an AR-15-style .223-caliber Smith and Wesson rifle with a 100-round magazine, a 12-gauge Remington shotgun and two .40-caliber Glock semi-automatic pistols to kill 12 and injure 58 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Dec. 14, 2012: Adam Lanza, 20, used an AR-15-style rifle, a .223-caliber Bushmaster, to kill 27 people — his mother, 20 students and six teachers — in Newtown, Conn., before killing himself.
June 7, 2013: John Zawahri, 23, used an AR-15-style .223-caliber rifle and a .44-caliber Remington revolver to kill five and injure three at a home in Santa Monica, Calif., before he was killed.
March 19, 2015: Justin Fowler, 24, used an AR-15 to kill one and injure two on a street in Little Water, N.M., before he was killed.
May 31, 2015: Jeffrey Scott Pitts, 36, used an AR-15 and .45-caliber handgun to kill two and injure two at a store in Conyers, Ga., before he was killed.
Oct. 31, 2015: Noah Jacob Harpham, 33, used an AR-15, a .357-caliber revolver and a 9mm semi-automatic pistol to kill three on a street in Colorado Springs, Colo., before he was killed.
Dec. 2, 2015: Syed Rizwyan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, 28 and 27, used two AR-15-style, .223-caliber Remington rifles and two 9 mm handguns to kill 14 and injure 21 at his workplace in San Bernardino, Calif., before they were killed.
June 12, 2016: Omar Mateen, 29, used an AR-15 style rifle (a Sig Sauer MCX), and a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol to kill 49 people and injure 50 at an Orlando nightclub before he was killed.
Oct. 1, 2017: Stephen Paddock, 64, used a stockpile of guns including an AR-15 to kill 58 people and injure hundreds at a music festival in Las Vegas before he killed himself.
Nov. 5, 2017: Devin Kelley, 26, used an AR-15 style Ruger rifle to kill 26 people at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, before he was killed.
Feb. 14, 2018: Police say Nikolas Cruz, 19, used an AR-15-style rifle to kill at least 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
- Jansen, Bart; Cummings, William (November 6, 2017). "Why mass shooters are increasingly using AR-15s". USA Today. Retrieved on October 9, 2018. ; Cummings, William; Jansen, Bart (February 14, 2018). "Why the AR-15 keeps appearing at America's deadliest mass shootings". USA Today. Retrieved on September 23, 2018.
- Americans who know nothing else about firearms are all too familiar with the name AR-15. It’s the semi-automatic weapon that murderers have used in many of the most notorious and highest-casualty gun killings of recent years: Aurora, Colorado. Newtown, Connecticut. Orlando, Florida. San Bernardino, California. Now, with modified versions, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Sutherland Springs, Texas...A little bullet pays off so much in wound ballistics. That is what people who choose these weapons know.
- It’s important to understand how we got where we are today. In 1966, the unthinkable happened: a madman climbed the University of Texas clock tower and opened fire, killing more than a dozen people. It was the first mass shooting in the age of television, and it left a real impression on the country. It was the kind of terror we didn’t expect to ever see again. But around 30 years ago, we started to see an uptick in these types of shootings, and over the last decade they’ve become the new norm.
In July 2012, a gunman walked into a darkened theater in Aurora and shot 12 people to death, injuring 70 more. One of his weapons was an assault rifle. The sudden and utterly random violence was a terrifying sign of what was to come.
In December 2012, a young man entered an elementary school in Newtown and murdered six educators and 20 young children. One of his weapons was an assault rifle. Watching the aftermath of these young babies being gunned down was heartrending.
In June 2016, a gunman entered a nightclub in Orlando and sprayed revelers with gunfire. The shooter fired hundreds of rounds, many in close proximity, and killed 49. Many of the victims were shot in the head at close range. One of his weapons was an assault rifle.
Last month, a gunman opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, turning an evening of music into a killing field. All told, the shooter used multiple assault rifles fitted with bump-fire stocks to kill 58 people. The concert venue looked like a warzone.
Over the weekend in Sutherland Springs, 26 were killed by a gunman with an assault rifle. The dead ranged from 17 months old to 77 years. No one is spared with these weapons of war. When so many rounds are fired so quickly, no one is spared. Another community devastated and dozens of families left to pick up the pieces.
These are just a few of the many communities we talk about in hushed tones—San Bernardino, Littleton, Aurora, towns and cities across the country that have been permanently scarred.
- Devin Patrick Kelley, the former US air force serviceman who killed at least 26 people and injured another 20 in a Texas church this past Sunday morning, had been court-martialed in 2012 for assaulting his wife and stepson. He was able to purchase his murder weapons even though, since 1996, federal law has banned people with domestic violence convictions from owning guns.
- Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University (Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (November 10, 2017). "Inside the minds of American mass shooters". The Guardian. ; Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (2018). Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment. City Lights. ISBN 9780872867246. )
- Because an AR-15, or a variant, was reportedly used in several mass shootings — including Aurora, Colorado; Newtown, Connecticut; San Bernardino,California; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, in which a total of 154 people were killed — this civilian sibling of a military assault rifle is an exceptionally polarizing product of modern American industry. The AR-15 and its semiautomatic cousins — they shoot one round for each pull of the trigger ─ incite repulsion among those who see them as excessive, grotesque and having no place on the civilian market.
It is the focus of multiple attempts at prohibition, which in turn has prompted people to run out and buy more. Such “panic buying” drove sales of AR-15s to record levels during the presidency of Barack Obama and the 2016 presidential campaign.
- Schuppe, Jon (December 27, 2017). "America's rifle: Why so many people love the AR-15". NBC News. Retrieved on November 6, 2018.
- The nation's mass-shooting problem seems to be getting worse. And the latest, most serious shootings all seem to have one new thing in common: the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle.
The AR-15 typically has large magazines, shoots rounds at higher velocities than handguns, and leaves more complex wounds in victims.
In each one of the older shootings on the 10-deadliest list — including the 2007 attack on Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., that left 32 victims dead — the shooters carried handguns. (The exception is the 1984 San Ysidro massacre, where the gunman also used a shotgun and an Uzi semiautomatic carbine.)
But in all of the latest incidents — Newtown, Conn., in 2012; San Bernardino, Calif., in 2015; Orlando, Fla., in 2016; Las Vegas, 2017; Sutherland Springs, Texas, 2017 — the attackers primarily used AR-15 semiautomatic rifles.
There are a couple of theories that might suggest why AR-15s would be associated with deadlier attacks. AR-15 rifles shoot small but high-velocity .223-caliber rounds that often shatter inside victims' bodies, creating more devastating injuries than the wounds typically left by larger but lower-velocity handgun rounds.
Shooters also commonly use the rifles with 30-round magazines, which allow them to fire more rounds uninterrupted, compared with the smaller magazines commonly used in handguns.
- Pearce, Matt (February 14, 2018). "Mass shootings are getting deadlier. And the latest ones all have something new in common: The AR-15". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on September 23, 2018.
- Newtown. San Bernardino. Las Vegas. Sutherland Springs. And now, Parkland. Five of the six deadliest mass shootings of the past six years in the United States. In each of them, the gunman had an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.
- Oppel Jr., Richard A. (February 15, 2018). "In Florida, an AR-15 Is Easier to Buy Than a Handgun". The New York Times. Retrieved on September 23, 2018.
- Six of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S. over the past decade have used an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. The latest instance was Wednesday’s high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead and 14 others injured.
The gun used in the shooting was a Smith and Wesson M&P AR-15, federal law enforcement officials told the Associated Press. The same model weapon was used in previous mass shootings, including the Aurora, Colo., movie theater shooting that claimed 12 lives and the rampage in San Bernardino, Calif., that claimed 14.
These rifles and other versions of the AR-15 are the civilian equivalent of fully-automatic M16 rifles used by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War. They are fancied by gun owners because they are typically easy to purchase — often for less than $1,000 — and can be customized with a number of accessories, such as bump stocks, which essentially convert the semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatics. A bump stock was deployed by the assailant in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 dead, making it the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Up until that point, the country’s deadliest mass shooting had occurred just a year prior at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where the perpetrator used an SIG MCX semi-automatic rifle — highly similar to AR-15s in aesthetic and purpose — to kill 49 people. Comparable weapons were also used at Sandy Hook Elementary School (27 dead) and a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church (25 dead).
The high number of fatalities in these incidents highlight how AR-15-style guns, much like their M16 cousin, are capable of inflicting serious damage to a number of people at once.
“For practical purposes, for the person that’s just tuning in, the non-gun owner, it’s a very similar type of firearm,” Rob Pincus, who has made a career out of training armed professionals, told TIME.
- Jenkins, Aric (February 15, 2018). "Many Mass Shootings in America Have 1 Thing in Common: AR-15 Rifles". Time. Retrieved on September 23, 2018.
- As officials continue to investigate 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, who is accused of opening fire on his former high school Wednesday afternoon, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than a dozen others, familiar details are already emerging about the weapon police believe was used in the massacre. Police suspect Cruz was armed with at least one AR-15-style rifle and “countless magazines” in the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This adds to a disturbing trend. In many of the most deadly mass shootings in the last several years, including the Las Vegas massacre on Oct. 1 and the shooting at a Texas church on Nov. 5, the lone gunmen were armed with assault-style rifles like the one reportedly used at the Florida school.
- Wing, Nick; Reilly, Mollie (February 15, 2018). HuffPost. Retrieved on September 24, 2018.
- This country has no monopoly on troubled young men. We have no monopoly on hate groups. We aren’t the only place where people miss signs of danger in troubled young men. What distinguishes the United States from the developed world is our open market in the weaponry of war — in weapons whose chief purpose and selling point is their obscene ability to kill as many people as possible in the shortest burst of time.
Is it any surprise that the weapon used in this week’s carnage was the same style of semiautomatic assault rifle that was used with deadly efficiency at a concert in Las Vegas, a Texas church, an Orlando nightclub, a Connecticut elementary school? These weapons designed for combat, accompanied by multiple ammunition magazines, have become the weapons of choice for mass shooters. It is time for a national ban on their sale and possession. Now, before the next set of parents face the unimaginable agony of the phone call that never gets answered.
- AR-15-style rifles have become something of a weapon of choice for mass shooters. One was used last year to kill 26 people during Sunday morning church services in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and it was among the stockpile of firearms used a month earlier to kill 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas.
AR-15-style rifles were also used at the shootings at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida; at an employee training in San Bernardino, California, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
- Lloyd, Whitney (February 16, 2018). "Why AR-15-style rifles are popular among mass shooters". ABC News. Retrieved on September 28, 2018.
- An AR-15 once again made an appearance at a mass shooting, this time at a Parkland, Fla., high school on Wednesday...These AR-style rifles have appeared in some of the deadliest shootings in the last few years, including a concert in Las Vegas, a nightclub in Orlando, a church in Texas and an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
- NOV. 5, 2017 A gunman identified as Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire at a Sunday service in a rural Texas church, killing at least 26 people. The authorities said Mr. Kelley used a Ruger AR-15 variant, a knockoff of the standard service rifle carried by the American military.
2012 Mr. Kelley, who was in the Air Force, was convicted of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull. An airman first class, he was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and a reduction to the lowest possible rank, E-1.
2014 Mr. Kelley received a “bad conduct” discharge from the Air Force.
2016 - 2017 Mr. Kelley purchased two firearms — one in 2016 and one in 2017 — from two Academy Sports & Outdoors stores in San Antonio. He passed a federal background check in both cases, according to a statement released by the store.
NOV. 5, 2017 Twenty-six people were killed and at least 20 more were wounded at the church shooting in Sutherland Springs. Mr. Kelley was later found dead in his vehicle. The police recovered two additional handguns from the car.
NOV. 6, 2017 The Air Force admitted that it had failed to enter Mr. Kelley’s domestic violence conviction into federal databases, which could have blocked him from buying the rifle he used in the massacre.
- Compared with pistols, assault rifles are used rarely in shootings. According to F.B.I. statistics, 374 people were murdered with any kind of rifle in 2016; 7,105 were killed by a handgun.
But the AR-15 has been a recurring character in some of America’s most infamous violent crimes. Adam Lanza used his to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook. Stephen Paddock used an enhanced AR-style gun to kill 58 concertgoers and wound hundreds on the Las Vegas Strip in October. A month later, Devin Kelley murdered 26 congregants with a Ruger AR-15 variant at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex. And the rampage last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., renewed calls for assault-style rifles to be banned — a common refrain after mass shootings.
- Watkins, Ali; Ismay, John; Gibbons-Neff, Thomas (March 3, 2018). "Once Banned, Now Loved and Loathed: How the AR-15 Became ‘America’s Rifle’". The New York Times. Retrieved on November 6, 2018.
- Parkland, Florida.
Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sutherland Springs, Texas.
Now, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Recent deadly mass shootings in these US cities have at least one thing in common: the AR-15....
This weapon has become increasingly popular in the US, especially since the 1994 federal weapons ban expired in 2004, and has been used in many other mass shootings around the country. Not just the three listed above.
To understand how and why this has happened, we put together a historical overview of the weapon and spoke with David Chipman, a senior policy analyst at Giffords and former special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives....
Chipman said that he believes AR-15s have been so frequently used in mass shootings for two reasons: popularity and lethality.
"It's a two-fold thing: the AR-15 is like the 4-door sedan of assault rifles," Chipman said. "It was America's weapon ... there's an Americana aspect."
But so many mass shootings become mass shootings "because the AR-15 was used," he said, adding that the damage the weapon does to the human body pales in comparison to a handgun.
"I've talked to ER physicians," Chipman said. "Rifle rounds are so devastating to the human body."
- Brown, Daniel (October 27, 2018). "The Pittsburgh synagogue shooter was reportedly armed with an AR-15 — here's how it became the weapon of choice for America's mass shooters". Business Insider. Retrieved on October 28, 2018.
- A Pittsburgh synagogue, a Florida high school, a Texas church, a Las Vegas concert, a Connecticut elementary school. These are the locations of some of the deadliest mass shootings in America in recent history, and they all have something in common: The style of weapon used at each horrific scene was the AR-15 semiautomatic rifle.
- The mass murder last week at the Pittsburgh Synagogue has something in common with the deadliest massacres: the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Variations of the AR-15 were used to kill at a Texas church, a Las Vegas concert, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and Sandy Hook Elementary School. The AR-15 style rifle is the most popular rifle in America. There are well over 11 million, and they are rarely used in crime. Handguns kill far more people, but the AR-15 is the choice of our worst mass murderers. AR-15 ammunition travels up to three times the speed of sound.
- Pelley, Scott (November 4, 2018). "What makes the AR-15 style rifle the weapon of choice for mass shooters?". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved on November 5, 2018.
- ...a bomb went off on the inside. And our job is to go in there and clean it up....At some point it's like putting Humpty Dumpty back together again...his organs are now in different pieces and you have to reconstruct them. The arm was missing soft tissue, skin, muscle and part of the nerves were damaged. The bowel has to be put back together some of the areas of injury has to heal itself so you can see that he can walk around like a normal child and behave as normal as possible.
- Lillian Liao, trauma surgeon at the University Hospital of the University of Texas in San Antonio, on treating a Sutherland Springs church shooting survivor (Pelley, Scott (November 4, 2018). "What makes the AR-15 style rifle the weapon of choice for mass shooters?". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved on November 5, 2018. ).