August 1995 — Muskegon, Michigan: Plans to slay everyone in the Muskegon, Michigan, store and steal enough cash and jewelry to feed their “gnawing hunger for crack cocaine” fell apart for a band of would-be killers after one of their victims fought back. Store owner Clare Cooper was returning behind the counter after showing three of the four conspirators some jewelry, when one of the group pulled out a gun and shot him four times in the back. Stumbling for the safety of his bullet-proof glass-encased counter, Cooper managed to grab his shotgun and fire as the suspects fled.
October 1997 — Pearl, Mississippi: 16-year-old Luke Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned to death his mother at home. Wearing only an orange jumpsuit and a trench coat and making no effort to hide his rifle, he entered Pearl High School, where he killed two students and injured seven. As he was leaving the school, he was stopped by Assistant Principal Joel Myrick, who had gone out to get a handgun from his car. “I’ve always kept a gun in the truck just in case something like this ever happened,” said Myrick at the time, who went on to become principal of Corinth High School, Corinth, Miss.
April 1998 — Edinboro, Pennsylvania: 14-year-old Andrew Wurst shot and killed a teacher at a school dance, and shot and injured several other students. He had just left the dance hall, carrying his gun — possibly to attack more people, though the stories that I’ve seen are unclear — when he was confronted by the dance hall owner James Strand, who lived next door and kept a shotgun at home.
March 2001 — Santana High School, Santee, California: 15-year-old Charles Andrew Williams, a ninth grade student described as “… a kid that was picked on a lot …”, killed two of his fellow students and wounded at least 13 others, including the “trained campus supervisor.” An off-duty cop who happened to be bringing his daughter to school that day points his gun at the shooter, holding him until more police arrive. Previously, witnesses said that they heard him saying, weeks before the shootings, that he was “going to pull a Columbine.”
- January 2002 — Appalachia Law School, Virginia
- Peter Odighizuwa, 43, a former student from Nigeria, arrived on the campus of the school with a handgun around 1:00 p.m. and killed three people, at least two of them at point-blank range. Two students — Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges — both retrieved handguns from their vehicles and confronted Odighizuwa. As former police officers, each man was trained to subdue suspects but the fact is they were on the scene and armed, and helped prevent more killings.
December 2007 — Colorado Springs, Colorado: Mathew Murray, 24, launched an armed attack against the parishioners of the New Life Church that ultimately left two innocent victims dead. But the toll could have been much higher, were it not for the heroic actions of former police officer Jeanne Assam from Minnesota, who was there as a volunteer providing security. In an interview she said she very nearly decided not to go to church that morning but because she saw a headline on her computer indicating that two young people were murdered and a training center for Christian missionaries about 70 miles away in the Denver suburb of Arvada, she changed her mind. Murray shot a total of five people before an armed Assam shot and killed him. There were about 7,000 people at the church at the time of the attack.
May 2008 — Winnemucca, Nevada: Ernesto Villagomez killed two brothers and wounded two others in a bar filled with three hundred people. He was then shot and killed by a patron who was carrying a gun (and had a concealed carry permit).
August 2010 — Sullivan Central High School, Blountville, Tennessee: 62-year-old Thomas Richard Cowan wandered the grounds of the school for nearly an hour, armed with two pistols. Carolyn Gudger, the school resource officer, confronted Cowan with her gun drawn, as she shielded the principal. Two deputies, Lt. Steve Williams and Sam Matney, entered through separate doors and met Cowan and Gudger — still in a moving standoff. Cowan wavered, jerking his gun from Gudger to the deputies then back again. The three told him, again, to drop his weapon. He wouldn’t, so they opened fire. Cowan fell to the ground, his shoes just feet from door to the library full of teenagers.
December 2012 — Clackamas Town Center, Happy Valley, Oregon: 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts, ran into the shopping center wearing tactical clothing and a hockey mask and opened fire on shoppers and employees with a stolen rifle, firing as many as 60 shots, killing two people and seriously wounding a third person. Nick Meli, a concealed carry permit holder, drew his Glock 22, and took aim at Roberts but did not fire because there was an innocent person behind Roberts. It is believed that Roberts saw Meli. Roberts then ran into a back storage corridor, and down a flight of stars onto a lower floor. There, he committed suicide.
December 2012 — Mayan Palace Theater, San Antonio, Texas: 19-year-old Jesus Manuel Garcia entered the China Garden restaurant across the mall from the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater complex in San Antonio, Texas, looking for his ex-girlfriend. Angered that she had just broken up with him, he sent her a text message saying that he planned to go to the restaurant where she worked and “shoot somebody.” Garcia shoots at a movie theater, a police car, and bystanders from the nearby China Garden restaurant. As he enters the movie theater, guns blazing, an armed off-duty cop shoots Garcia four times, stopping the attack.