New Zealand mosque shooting: The 10 worst mass shootings in history
The mass shootings at two mosques in the New Zealand city of Christchurch during the Friday afternoon prayers by suspected gunman Brenton Tarrant, 27, has left at least 49 dead and 20 seriously injured, with the toll expected to rise.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern said it was "one of New Zealand's darkest days" and condemned the ideology behind the attacks, saying, "You may have chosen us but we utterly reject and condemn you."
The number of casualties means the attack is not just the worst mass shooting in the country's history, but also one of the worst in the world. Unfortunately, the number of severe mass shootings seems to be on the rise, with eight out of the ten worst ones taking place in the past decade and a half alone.
#10 Virginia Tech Shooting (2007)
The April 2007 shootings at the West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University by undergraduate student Seung-Hui Cho, a US resident of South Korean origin, saw a total of 32 killed and 17 injured. Cho carried out the shooting with two semi-automatic pistols, with several victims jumping out of the windows to escape the hail of bullets. As authorities stormed the campus to find and arrest him, he shot himself in the head and died instantly. It remains the deadliest school shooting in US history.
#9 Port Arthur Massacre (1996)
The Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania in April 1996 by Martin Bryant killed 35 people and injured a further 23. The deaths were spread out across the Broad Arrow Cafe, a gift shop, a car park, a toll booth, and a service station, with law enforcement only catching Bryant the next day. Bryant, who was found to have a subnormal IQ and intellectual disabilities, was pleaded guilty to his charges and was given 35 life sentences without the possibility of parole. It is the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history and prompted a sweeping and fundamental change of gun laws in the country.
#8 Sousse attacks (2015)
The mass shooting at the Spanish-owned five-star Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel, a tourist resort in Port El Kantaoui, around 10 kilometers north of the city of Sousse, Tunisia, by gunman Seifeddine Rezgui killed 38 and wounded 39 others. Rezgui entered the hotel by disguising himself as a tourist before proceeding to take out a Kalashnikov assault rifle he had concealed in a beach umbrella and opening fire at tourists on the beach and the hotel. Rezgui was later killed by security forces during an exchange of fire. The attack is the deadliest non-state attack in the history of modern Tunisia.
#7 Orlando Nightclub Shooting (2016)
On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old security guard, walked into Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and shot indiscriminately at revelers inside. The shooting killed 49 people and injured another 53. Mateen had claimed in a 911 call before the attack that it was triggered by the US killing of Abu Waheeb the month before and that he had sworn allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He was killed by officers after a three-hour standoff. The attack is the deadliest act of violence against LGBT people in US history and also the deadliest terror attack in the US since the September 2001 attacks.
#6 South Korea Shooting (1982)
On April 26 and April 27, 1982, South Korean policeman Woo Bum-kon went on a rampage in several villages in Uiryeong County, South Gyeongsang Province and killed 56 people and wounded another 35. He had previously served in the South Korean marines and the National Police, with his military expertise helping him avoid capture for a day. He would ultimately commit suicide before he was caught. Bum-kon's shooting remained the deadliest known mass murder committed by a lone gunman in modern history until the 2011 Norway attacks.
#5 Las Vegas Shooting (2017)
Sixty four-year-old Stephen Paddock made his way up to the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, and took aim at a crowd of concertgoers partying at the Route 91 Harvest music festival nearby. Having stockpiled an arsenal of weapons — he had fourteen AR-15 rifles, eight AR-10 rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver — as well as other associated equipment, Paddock managed to fire more than 1,100 rounds and killed 58 people, injuring another 858. He was later found dead in the hotel room, and his motives remain unknown to this day. The shooting is the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in the country's history.
#4 Westgate Shopping Mall Attack (2013)
In what they said was retribution for the Kenyan military's deployment in their home country of Somalia, four gunmen from the extremist group al-Shabaab attacked the upscale Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The shooting resulted in the deaths of 71 people — including 62 civilians, five Kenyan soldiers, and the four attackers — and injuries to 200 others. The last victim was killed even before police forces entered the mall, and it would take law enforcement another three days to declare the location secure.
#3 2011 Norway Attacks (2011)
The Norway attacks were two sequential lone wolf attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik against the government, the civilian population, and a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp which saw 77 people killed and at least another 209 injured. Breivik first used a car bomb next to the tower block housing the office of the Prime Minister which killed eight before dressing in a homemade police uniform and making his way to a summer camp on the island of Utøya, where he shot and killed 69. The horrific attack was the deadliest in the country since World War II and saw Breivik sentenced to 21 years of preventive detention in prison, the maximum sentence allowed in Norway.
#2 Garissa University College Attack (2015)
Gunmen from Al-Qaeda and sister organization Al-Shabaab stormed the Garissa University College in Garissa, Kenya, on April 2, 2015, and took over 700 students hostage, freeing Muslims and killing those who were identified as Christians. The attack left 148 people dead and more than 79 injured, with the siege ending after over 15 hours when all four gunmen were killed by police forces. 587 students had managed to escape but the attack was still the deadliest in the country since the 1998 United States embassy bombings.
#1 Peshawar School Massacre (2014)
The 4th anniversary of terrorist attack on Army Public School Peshawar is being observed tomorrow.— Jahan Zaib Virk (@jahan_virk) December 15, 2018
A special function has been arranged in Army Public School Peshawar tomorrow to pay homage to the martyred students and teachers of the school.#ہم_نہیں_بھولے_APS pic.twitter.com/1lXfGCvXqE
In what was the world's fourth deadliest school massacre, six men affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban attacked the Army Public School in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on December 16, 2014, and opened fire on the school staff and children. The attack left 149 dead, including 132 schoolchildren aged between eight and 18. A rescue operation launched by the country's Special Services Group managed to rescue 960 trapped inside the school, as well as kill all six terrorists. The attack also prompted the Pakistani government to lift its suspension on the death penalty.