USA Today, May 2021
California Gov. Gavin Newsom was visibly frustrated. He was addressing the press Wednesday afternoon after a mass shooting at a Northern California light rail yard. The gunman killed eight people before taking his own life. A ninth died late Wednesday. Newsom said he felt a “sameness” and “numbness” in the wake of yet another mass shooting.
‘It begs the damn question: What the hell is going on in the United States of America?’ Newsom said. ‘We rinse and repeat someplace else in this country.’ He’s right. There are on average 30 mass killings each year, according to the mass killings database USA TODAY manages along with Northeastern University and The Associated Press.
But the majority of the mass killings involve domestic violence; they aren’t public events like the tragic shooting in San Jose. Our database tracks all “mass killings” as defined by FBI as four or more killed, excluding the killer(s), within a 24-hour time frame. Using that definition, 2,431 people have been killed in 460 mass killings by 575 offenders since 2006.
Our database records all mass killings, not just those involving a gun. On average, two dozen mass killings involve guns every year. From those, an average of about five happen in a public place. The majority of mass killings happen in private, at a home, involving family members. Since 2006, 319 out of 460 mass killings (69%) have taken place in a residence or other shelter; 506 out of 575 killers were men, 38 were female and 31 were unknown.