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A look back at law enforcement in 2023: Mass casualty attacks

The number of attacks is alarming, but we are seeing more stories about successes from police intervention before and during attacks


People raise their hands as they leave a shopping center following reports of a shooting, Saturday, May 6, 2023, in Allen, Texas.

AP Photo/LM Otero

Active encounters between would-be mass attackers and law enforcement may signal improved response capability and awareness.

Here are some of the mass casualty attacks we witnessed in 2023.


Seven Evansville police officers and one Vanderburgh County sheriff’s deputy exchanged gunfire with the suspect both inside and outside an Evansville, Indiana, Walmart. A disgruntled former employee entered a break room and lined up former coworkers to be shot. One worker was seriously injured and the killer was shot to death by police.

A 6-year-old student shot and wounded a teacher at his school in Virginia during an altercation inside a first-grade classroom in the city of Newport News.

A male with a rifle and 13 loaded magazines fired multiple shots in a Target store in Omaha, Nebraska, before being killed by police. Remarkably, there were no known victims in the shooting.

In New Mexico, Solomon Peña, who lost his 2022 run for state House District 14, was arrested by Albuquerque police for paying and conspiring with four men to shoot at the homes of two Democrat state legislators and two county commissioners in December and January.

In Des Moines, Iowa, an 18-year-old man was arrested and charged with murder after a shooting at an educational program for at-risk youth. Two students were killed and the program’s founder seriously injured. The suspect fled but was located by a police tracking dog.

A gunman in Yakima, Washington, “just walked in and started shooting” at a convenience store, killing three apparently random victims. He was located deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Eleven people were shot in a targeted drive-by shooting in Lakeland, Florida, at a residence where suspected drug activity was discovered.


Three people were killed and five others injured in a mass shooting at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. The shooter died by suicide when approached by police.

New Orleans police reported a suspect was arrested after a shooting along the Mardi Gras parade route left one dead and four injured.

One dead, 10 injured in two Memphis shootings connected to a disturbance at a nightclub.

A civilian shot and wounded a suspect in a mall shooting in El Paso, Texas, that left one dead and three injured.

Six people were murdered and another was wounded in a series of shootings in Tate County, Mississippi, after a man opened fire on his ex-wife on an extended domestic violence rampage.

Two people were arrested in a shooting that wounded nine children at a Columbus, Georgia, gas station.

In Orange County, Florida, a gunman killed a woman at a residence then returned to the scene and killed a TV journalist covering that death, and then fatally shot a 9-year-old girl nearby before he was arrested.

An off-duty officer stopped an El Paso, Texas, mall shooter. Police received calls of a suspect firing off several rounds, killing one person and wounding three others, at approximately 5:05 pm and the officer took a suspect into custody by 5:08 p.m.


A March 6 article on CNN reports that America has surpassed the 100 mark in mass shootings.

Six people were killed in a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. The suspect is killed by police.

Miami Beach rejected imposing a nightly curfew after two fatal shootings during spring break, but liquor stores were ordered to close early.

One student died and another was injured in a shooting outside a high school in Arlington, Texas.

In Tempe, Arizona, a 5-year-old was killed and two others injured in a drive-by shooting involving a car with six juveniles inside.

A disturbance in Douglasville, outside of Atlanta resulted in two dead, and six injured after a shooting at a Georgia house party that had more than 100 teenagers in attendance.

Police1 analysis: Nashville PD’s response to the Covenant School active shooter was ‘by the numbers’


Five people were killed and eight others were injured, including a rookie police officer, in a mass shooting at a bank in Louisville, Kentucky.

Two people were killed and four others wounded when shots were fired into a crowd at Chickasaw Park in Louisville, Kentucky.

Four people were killed and 28 others injured during a shooting at a birthday party in Dadeville, Alabama.

Five Hondurans were killed in a mass shooting in a house in Cleveland, Texas.

At least three people were shot during a confrontation at a Christiana Mall food court in Newark, Delaware.


Eight people were shot and killed at a mall north of Dallas, Texas, at the Allen Premium Outlets mall. An eyewitness described that a man was firing indiscriminately at passers-by. A police officer close to the scene killed the gunman after hearing shots.

In Brownsville, Texas, eight people were killed and five others were injured when a car plowed into a group of people at a bus stop near a shelter for the homeless and migrants.

A man accused of killing a Florida mom and her three children was shot and killed by Lake Wales Police Department officers at a motel after an hours-long standoff with police.

Five separate shootings over the weekend in Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona, left four dead and one injured with a man arrested and charged with murder.

Three people were killed and five wounded in a shooting between rival biker gangs at an annual motorcycle rally in Red River, New Mexico.

An eight-hour manhunt ended when barking dogs at a suburban condo complex led to the arrest of a US Coast Guard veteran suspected of fatally shooting a woman and wounding four others in a medical waiting room in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia.

Police1 analysis: The Texas outlet mall active shooter: The tragedy and the triumph


A shooting at a high school graduation in Virginia left a student and his stepfather dead and five others injured.

A mass shooting at a Juneteenth celebration left one person dead and at least 22 others injured in suburban Chicago.

In downtown Denver, during a celebration of the Nuggets victory, at least nine people were injured in a mass shooting.

A spray of bullets from a white pickup truck at a funeral procession in a Chicago suburb left four men injured, one critically.

At least nine people were shot in San Francisco’s Mission District neighborhood in what police believe was a “targeted and isolated incident.”


US marshals arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with a week-end mass shooting in Cleveland that left nine people wounded apparently at random.

A man was arrested by an officer near the scene of an attack where a suspect opened fire on a Philadelphia street and shot seven people. Kimbrady Carriker, 40, is accused of killing five adults and wounding two children. He was reportedly wearing body armor, carrying an AR variant rifle and using a police scanner.

One person was taken into police custody after at least seven people were wounded in a shooting at a Wichita, Kansas nightclub.

In Shreveport, Louisiana, at least 11 people were shot at the block party that left four dead.

Two people were killed and 28 others injured in a mass shooting at a block party in Baltimore, Maryland.

Three people were killed and eight others injured in a mass shooting at a festival in Fort Worth, Texas.

At least 20 people were killed and 126 injured in 22 mass shootings across the United States on Independence Day, including Washington, DC where nine people were injured — including a 9-year-old and a 17-year-old — in a drive-by shooting as the victims were celebrating the Fourth of July.

Andre Longmore, the man accused of fatally shooting four people in Hampton, Georgia, was killed in a shootout with police.

Five people were injured, two critically, in a mass shooting at a shopping center in Lansing, Michigan.

One person was killed and eight others critically injured in a mass shooting in the west side of Chicago, Illinois.

In a Bronx park in New York City, a 3-year-old and his 6-year-old brother were among four people shot and wounded when shots were fired at a crowd. Hundreds were gathered at St. James Park when two people wearing masks pulled up on a scooter and fired into the crowd, striking the four victims.

A Fargo, North Dakota, police officer was killed and two other officers wounded by a man that had searched online for “mass shooting events,” “kill fast” and “explosive ammo.” The suspect, who had 1,800 rounds of ammunition, three semiautomatic rifles and four pistols, gallons of gasoline and propane, and a homemade grenade, was fatally shot by Fargo police officer Zach Robinson.

Police1 analysis:
Bodycam video shows how heroic North Dakota officer stopped ambush
The story of the fatal Fargo ambush from the only officer left standing to eliminate the gunman
Reloading at the speed of life: Gun handling lessons from the July ambush of Fargo police officers


Memphis police thwarted a school shooting when officers shot a suspect after he attempted to enter a Jewish school with a gun and fired shots after he couldn’t get into the building.

A retired police officer opened fire in a popular Southern California biker bar, leaving three dead and six others with gunshot wounds.

A University of North Carolina faculty member was killed in a campus shooting with the suspect in custody.

One teen was killed and four people injured following a shooting at an Oklahoma high school football game.

At least seven people were hurt in a shooting that halted a Boston parade.


A man’s social media posts led police to intervene in a planned church shooting in Haymarket, Virginia, as the would-be killer entered the church during services. “This was a thwarted diabolical plot to kill churchgoers in Haymarket, Virginia … and local law enforcement stopped it,” Chief Kevin Davis of the Fairfax County Police Department said.

Authorities in South Florida say they arrested a 19-year-old after they say they found written threats for a shooting spree and other attacks in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop in Jupiter, Florida. The officer found multiple handwritten notes with a plan to purchase firearms and “kill everyone at OHS (Okeechobee High School) with my guns.”


Multiple people suffered non-life-threatening injuries after gunfire broke out at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland. A 17-year-old and 18-year-old were arrested.

In Lewiston, Maine, shootings at a bowling alley and a restaurant left 18 dead and 13 wounded. The suspect was later found dead from suicide. The rampage was the deadliest mass shooting in the US this year.

A 22-year-old man died and eight others were injured in a mass shooting at a party in Indiana County, Pennsylvania, state police said. The gunfire broke out around 12:35 a.m. at a community center in White Township, where a private event was being held.

Police1 analysis:
Maine mass shooting provides insights on critical pre-emptive interventions and response protocols
Rapid Response: Don’t look away from Lewiston, instead learn and prepare


Three people were killed and another critically injured in a shooting over a property dispute in Custer County, Colorado

At least one person was killed and three others injured in a shooting at Walmart in Beavercreek, Ohio.

North Carolina police arrested a man with multiple guns and over 250 rounds of ammunition after a bar disturbance in which the man, 59-year-old Peter Modiene Gabaree, had been kicked out and intercepted by officers before he went back inside. Boone Police Chief Andy Le Beau commended his officers “for their quick actions and preventing a potential mass shooting.”


The University of Nevada shooter who killed three in Las Vegas was a professor who recently applied for a job there.

Four people were fatally shot in Austin, Texas, and two officers were wounded, and two others were killed in Bexar County in a shooting spree. School police officers reported the attack that occurred at Northeast Early College High School.

A 13-year-old boy who participated in antisemitic groups online threatened to shoot up and burn down a synagogue in Canton, Ohio. According to the report from the Stark County Sheriff’s Office, the boy had made “detailed” plans and also had maps of Temple Israel in Canton. The teen is charged with inducing panic and with disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

Top takeaway: The number of attacks is alarming, but there are more stories about successes from police intervention before and during attacks.

Joel Shults retired as Chief of Police in Colorado. Over his 30-year career in uniformed law enforcement and criminal justice education, Joel served in a variety of roles: academy instructor, police chaplain, deputy coroner, investigator, community relations officer, college professor and police chief, among others. Shults earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, with a graduate degree in Public Services Administration and a bachelor degree in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Missouri. In addition to service with the U.S. Army military police and CID, Shults has done observational studies with over 50 police agencies across the country. He has served on a number of advisory and advocacy boards, including the Colorado POST curriculum committee, as a subject matter expert.