Less than two months going into 2018, there have already been 18 recorded school shootings in the United States. That’s more than twice the number of shooting incidents compared to the same time last year. The number of shooting incidents in the country has also steadily been increasing since 2013, with the exception of 2016, which only saw a total of 48 school shooting incidents. The latest one, which claimed the lives of 17 people, is the deadliest one this year and the third deadliest in past six months, as per a report from CBS News.
Majority of the shooting incidents this year involved the accidental firing of a weapon. This includes the accidental firing of a weapon in Salvador B. Castro Middle School in the first day of February that resulted in five children being taken to the hospital. Another incident is the accidental firing of an officer’s gun by a third-grader in Harmony Learning Centre in Minnesota in Feb. 5. Other incidents had involved people taking their own lives inside their school’s campus or shooting incidents involving just one target.
Among the 18 recorded school shooting incidents, the one that resulted in multiple deaths was the shooting incident inside the Marshall County High School in Kansas on Jan. 23, which resulted in the deaths of two people and gunshot wounds to 15 others.
The recent shooting at Stoneman Douglas High school in Southern Florida was perpetrated by a 19-year-old student named Nikolas Cruz. The gunman, who was recently expelled from the high school in Parkland, opened fire on students and teachers in the hallway inside the school after he deliberately set off the fire alarm. The suspect reportedly entered the school wearing a gas mask and was seen carrying several smoke grenades.
According to a report from The Telegraph, Cruz’ classmates had described him to be a “loner,” a “troubled kid,” and “crazy about guns.” Investigators also discovered that Cruz’ social media accounts were filled with pictures of himself sporting different handguns and weapons with “very disturbing” captions.
The suspect was apprehended over a mile away from the scene of the crime in Coral Springs. The gunman reportedly did not struggle and had willingly surrendered to authorities. Florida authorities recently announced that they had already taken the suspect to a nearby hospital for evaluation. The recent incident has sparked an even stronger debate amongst politicians and lawmakers regarding numerous topics including school security, gun laws, and ownership regulations.