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Mass shootings in Seattle and Washington state

We know places forever scarred by gun violence: Sandy Hook, Columbine, Buffalo, Aurora, Pulse, Parkland, Las Vegas, Uvalde. The victims were murdered in a grocery store, a music festival, a cinema, a nightclub, a school.

Everytown for Gun Safetythe nation’s largest gun violence prevention organization, has been keeping a grim tally of mass shootings like these since 2009 — incidents in which four or more people are shot and killed, not including the shooter. It’s an effort to remind audiences that it’s far too commonplace and can happen anywhere.

Our state recently passed a series of laws aimed at preventing gun violence, including background checks on all gun sales and a extreme risk prevention order, which allows family members and law enforcement to petition the court to temporarily restrict an individual’s access to firearms. According to Everytown, Washington now ranks ninth in the country for the strength of the gun law.

Also over the past 12 years, our state has had 10 mass shootings– sixth of all states behind California, Texas, Florida, Ohio and Illinois – and several other notable incidents of gun violence.


October 21, 2021 | 4 killed

A 22-year-old man fatally shot four people in a home in the Salishan neighborhood of Tacoma. A 22-year-old man, his 22-year-old girlfriend, 42-year-old sister and 19-year-old son were killed. The shooter was then arrested.

white swan

June 8, 2019 | 5 killed, 2 injured

Two brothers shot and killed five people in a home on the Yakama Nation reservation. The suspects then held a teenager at gunpoint, demanding a getaway car. The teenager escaped and the two attackers were later arrested.


January 27, 2017 | 4 killed

Three members of the Careaga family, including two 16-year-old boys, were found dead in their home. They had been shot and the house burned down later. Two days later, the father’s remains were found in a burnt-out truck on a rural tree farm. Investigators believe he was kidnapped and taken to a separate location before he was killed. The murders remain unsolved.


September 23, 2016 | 5 killed

The 20-year-old assailant randomly targeted individuals at a Macy’s department store in the Cascade Mall. A sophomore from Mount Vernon High School, a Boeing maintenance worker, a probation officer and his 95-year-old mother, and a makeup artist from Macy’s were killed. The shooter was arrested the next day and later hanged himself in jail.


February 26, 2016 | 4 killed

A 51-year-old man shot dead his wife and children before calling the police and killing himself. His wife, 16-year-old son, 18-year-old son and a neighbor were killed. The woman’s 12-year-old daughter escaped physically unharmed.


October 24, 2014 | 4 killed, 1 injured

A 15-year-old freshman at Marysville Pilchuck High School invited his friends to lunch with him in the school cafeteria, where he shot them before killing himself. The victims were all 14 or 15 years old.

Federal way

April 21, 2013 | 4 killed

A 28-year-old man killed his girlfriend and then shot three men around the apartment complex, including a neighbor who was trying to call 911. Police then killed the suspect when attempting to arrest him.


May 30, 2012 | 5 killed, 1 injured

A 40-year-old man who had already been kicked out of the Cafe Racer shot several customers and the restaurant’s chef, later also killing a woman outside the town hall in a carjacking. The shooter later committed suicide.


November 29, 2009 | 4 killed

A 37-year-old man killed four police officers in a cafe as they sat at a table before their shift. The attacker evaded authorities for two days before being shot by a police officer in Seattle on December 1.


April 4, 2009 | 5 killed

A 34-year-old man killed his five children in their home after an argument with his wife. He later traveled to Auburn – police believe he was looking for his wife – where he committed suicide. The children were aged seven to 16.

Other notable incidents

While not meeting the definition of a “mass shooting”, several other gun-related incidents have rocked our community.

On June 5, 2014, a 27-year-old man drove to Seattle Pacific University, where he killed a 19-year-old man and injured a 22-year-old woman. He was then tackled by a student, arrested and sentenced to 112 years in prison.

On July 28, 2006, a 30-year-old man entered the Belltown office of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, holding a 14-year-old at gunpoint to gain access through the security doors. Inside, he shot six employees, aged 23 to 58, killing a woman. One of the victims was also five months pregnant. The attacker surrendered to police and was sentenced to life without parole plus 120 years.

what you can do

Make a donation. Several organizations are dedicated to preventing gun violence, including Everytown for Gun Safety, The Sandy Hook Promise, Brady United, Moms demand action, Students demand actionand locally, Alliance for Gun Accountability.

Find out. Learn how to file a extreme risk protection ordermore How? ‘Or’ What and where to store a weapon safely. Teach your children what to do if they find a gun and talk to them about gun safety.

Law. Volunteer with the local from a gun violence prevention organization, reach out to your local and state elected officials and urge them to pass sensible gun laws, and raise awareness about gun violence in your community.