On June 12, 2016 – Omar Mateen, a homophobic 29-year-old self-proclaimed ISIS Islamic radical, pulled off the worst mass shooting by a single gunman inUS history. 49 people are dead and 53 wounded after he entered an Orlando nightclub and open fired with an assault rifle on partygoers.
People who were close to him recall his behaviour as“unstable” – the Imam at the mosqueMateen at-tended for nearly 10 years says that he was a soft-spoken regular worshipper who rarely interacted with the congregation.
Mateen was born and raised in the States and went to school in Florida – a classmate describes him as a typical teenager who played football.
He was married in 2009 to a woman that he met online, they divorced in 2011 and she said he was “not a stable person”, he had a violent temper and was emotionally and mentally disturbed – she also recalls a time that he beat her over laundry that wasn’t done.
Mateen’s father told NBC News that the attack has nothing to do with religion. He said his son got angry when he recently saw two men kiss in Miami in front of his own son and thinks that may have played a part.
Omar Mateen was killed in a shootout between him and the police.
2. Sandy Hook Elementary School.
On December 14, 2012 – Adam Lanza, a disturbed, mentally-ill 20-year-old, entered Sandy Hook elementary school and fatally shot 20 first graders and six staff members. Before driving to Sandy Hook El-ementary, he shot his mother four times in the head at their Newtown home.
Adam Lanza and his mother lived in Sandy Hook about 5 miles away from the school. He didn’t have a criminal record. He actually attended Sandy Hook Elementary School for a brief time before being trans-ferred to a Catholic school, Newtown high school where he was an honours student but then ultimately being home-schooled where he earned his GED. Students and teachers who knew him in high school de-scribed him as“intelligent, but nervous and fidgety”
He was diagnosed with a sensory-integration disorder in elementary school, then Asperger syndrome when he was 13 and also obsessive-compulsive disorder.
He was fascinated with mass shootings, especially the Columbine high school massacre and the Northern Illinois University 2008 shooting. He never allowed anyone in his room, he taped black garbage bags over his windows to block out sunlight, refused to have a Christmas tree in the house, and would not eat his food unless it was arranged in a particular way on his plate.
He also cut off contact with both his brother and father two years before the shooting and only communi-cated with his mother, who he lived with…but through email.
Adam Lanza killed himself at Sandy Hook Elementary after killing those children and staff.
3. Columbine High School, Colorado
On April 20, 1999 – 18 year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold went on a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. They killed 13 people and wounded more than 20 others before killing themselves.
At approximately 11:19AM, Eric and Dylan wore trench coats and started shooting fellow students outside of Columbine School before going inside the school where they gunned down many of their victims in the library. By 11:35am, they had killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded more than 20 other people. Just after 12pm, the two teens turned the guns on themselves.
Investigators later found out that they both arrived in separate cars around 11:10am on the morning of the massacre and walked into the cafeteria together and placed two duffle bags each with a 20-pound propane bomb set to explode at 11:17am. They went back to their cars to wait for the bombs to go off and when they failed to detonate, they started their killing spree.
4. Virginia Tech.
On April 16, 2007 – 23-year-old Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others in two separate attacks. This attack is the second deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in US history.
Cho had been diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. Throughout his school years, he received therapy and special education support.
In 2005, Cho has been accused of stalking two female students – following an investigation, Cho was de-clared mentally ill and ordered to attend treatment; however, because he wasn’t institutionalized, he was still allowed to purchase guns.
The shootings first started at West Amber Johnston Hall where he killed two students and then the second at Norris Hall, where the other 31 students were killed.
He then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
5. Aurora, Colorado.
On July 12, 2012 – 28-year-old James Eagan Holmes, who had no criminal record, killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theatre room during the midnight screening of Batman The Dark Knight Rises where there were 400 people inside.
Police said that he bought a ticket, went into the theatre and sat in the front row. About 20 minutes into the film, he left the building through an emergency exit door, which he propped open with a plastic table-cloth holder.
He went to his car which was parked close to the exit door and changed into protective clothing and got his guns. About 30 minutes into the film, around 12:30am, he came back into the theatre room through the same exit door. He was now wearing all black, a gas mask, a load-bearing vest used to hold grenades and ammunition, a ballistic helmet, bullet-resistant leggings, throat protector, groin protector and tactical gloves.
First he threw two gas canisters that made audience members throats and skin itch plus irritate their eyes and then he began to fire a shotgun, first at the ceiling and then at the audience. He shot 76 shots in the theatre – six from the shotgun, 65 from a semi-automatic rifle and five from a handgun.
It was considered the deadliest mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre.
He was arrested around 12:45am behind the cinema, beside his car without resistance. He was initially mistaken for another police officer because of the tactical clothing he was wearing. The arresting officer described him as calm and “disconnected” during his arrest.
Prior to the shooting, James Holmes rigged his apartment with homemade explosives but those were de-fused by a bomb squad one day after the shooting.
He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He was convicted of 24 counts of first-degree murder, 140 counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of possessing explosives.
He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was given 12 life sentences, one for every person he killed, and 3,318 years for the attempted murders of those he wounded and for rigging his apartment with explosives.
6. Omaha, Nebraska.
On December 5th, 2007 – 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people and wounded four at the Von Maur department store in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska.
An hour before Robert Hawkins began the massacre, his mother gave the police department his suicide note that read: “I just want to take a few pieces of shit with me…just think tho, I’m gonna be fuckin fa-mous”
When Robert first went into the store at 1:36pm, he was unarmed – after slowly walking a short distance, he paused for a second and then turned around left in what is described as a somewhat agitated state.
He came back six minutes later and went directly to the elevator and up to the third floor, this time with a semi-automatic rifle, which he stole from his stepfather’s house.
At 1:43PM, he stepped out of the elevator and opened first. He killed eight people and wounded four oth-ers in six minutes before shooting himself in the head.
Robert Hawkins was sent to a psychiatrist when he was just 4 years old by his stepmother.By the time he was 6, he was going to therapy sessions, taking meds and was hospitalized for depression. The day after he turned 14, he was sent to a mental health treatment centre for threatening to kill his stepmother with anaxe.