A couple observe a makeshift memorial honoring the victims of the Pulse nightclub mass shooting, June 20, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. (AP)

VOA Special Report

Restaurant, bar and nightclub shootings

Mass shootings (1966 - 2019)

On Oct. 24, 2003, the Stateline Bar in Oldtown, Idaho, became the scene of the earliest-known mass shooting at a restaurant, bar and nightclub in the modern era.

Four people, including the perpetrator’s ex-girlfriend, were killed at the tiny tavern located in the Idaho-Washington border town with a population of about 200 people.

Mass shootings are defined by the Congressional Research Service as four or more victims.

The following year, a gunman killed four people and held one hostage at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, where 250 people attended a heavy metal concert. Four were killed in that massacre, including Dimebag Darrell, founder and guitarist of the band Damageplan, as they played the first song of the set. He was the gunman’s target.

In 2010, three mass shootings occurred within a five-month span from April to August:

  • Four people were killed and two others wounded at a memorial gathering inside a restaurant in Los Angeles
  • A gunman killed his estranged wife and three other women outside the restaurant where she worked in Hialeah, Florida
  • Four people were killed at the scene, and four others injured when a former gang member opened fire inside a restaurant in Buffalo, New York, after a dispute over spilled Champagne. One of the injured victims died in 2017 from his head wound, becoming the fifth fatality.

Multiple mass shootings also occurred in 2016 and in 2018. But the deadliest took place June 12, 2016, at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured, most of them Hispanic and members of the LGBTQ community. Thirty-eight victims died at the scene.

The 29-year-old perpetrator at the gay nightclub was the American-born Muslim son of Afghan immigrants who had been a frequent customer. In his call to 9-1-1, he claimed the attack was in retaliation for the U.S. airstrike that year against Islamic State that killed its leader, Abu Waheeb.

The attack at Pulse was classified as an act of terrorism. In its aftermath, law enforcement agencies across the United States reexamined their training, policies and practices regarding public mass violence.

Restaurant, bars and nightclub mass shooting locations Fatalities and restaurant, bars and nightclub mass shootings

Circles scaled according to the number of fatalities.

Jillian Peterson, Ph.D., and James Densley, Ph.D., built a new database of mass shooters that they hope will inform future research and policy decisions about how to effectively prevent and respond to mass shootings.

For their study, they used the Congressional Research Service’s definition of a mass shooting:

“a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms — not including the offender(s) — within one event, and at least some of the murders occurred in a public location or locations in close geographical proximity (e.g., a workplace, school, restaurant, or other public settings), and the murders are not attributable to any other underlying criminal activity or commonplace circumstance (armed robbery, criminal competition, insurance fraud, argument, or romantic triangle).”

About the data

All shooters have either been charged, convicted or killed at the scene.

In two years, the team collected more than 100 pieces of information on each of 171 mass shooters, resulting in The Violence Project Database of Mass Shootings in the United States, 1966-2019.

They compiled details on hundreds of factors, including age, race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, education, relationship status, number of children, employment type and status, military service and branch, criminal, violence and abuse history, gang and terrorist affiliation, bullying, home environment and trauma.

What emerged were fleshed-out profiles and motivations of individual shooters, whose crimes can potentially influence current, and future policy and prevention.

Restaurant, bar and nightclub shootings (1966 - 2019)

While there is no single profile of a mass shooter, there are several similar characteristics of perpetrators who commit crimes at restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

One-third show evidence of a thought disorder.

The Violence Project describes this specific shooter as a white male in his 30s with a criminal record, violent history, and no employment connection to the location. He used a legally owned handgun to commit the crime. Sixty-five percent of the perpetrators had prior criminal records; 65% had a history of violence.

Twenty-six percent had an obsessive interest in firearms; 17% were school bullies. Twenty-six percent were notable misogynists; 39% were involved in domestic disputes that spilled over in the public. Thirty-nine percent had a relationship issue; and 13% experienced interpersonal conflict.

Forty-three percent of the shooters purchased their guns legally, including one that was part of an unregulated private sale. In addition, one gun was gifted to the shooter.

Restaurant, bar and nightclub shooting victims

March 16, 1968 Vienna Gustafson • Raymond Hautala • Sally Johnson • Rudolph Maurin • Helvi Puisto • Katherine Rigoni • Daniel E. Weiss July 23, 1977 Gary Lee Anderson • Michael Gene Mortenson • Robert Dale Seater • Carol Ann Seater • James L. Trueman • Andrew Lane Walker Feb. 3, 1980 Kathleen Lynn Austin • Frederick Bergford • Jana Carpenter • Marianne Laweka • Randy Wayne Steele May 7, 1981 John W. Cooper • Lori Cunningham • Robert E. Hamblin • Dennis Scharf • Allen L. Wilcox June 29, 1984 Marcell Ford • Ligia Kozlowski • Linda Lowe • Joseph John Minasi • Frank Parker • Janice Smith July 18, 1984 Elsa Herlinda Borboa-Firro • Neva Denise Caine • Michelle Deanne Carncross • María Elena Colmenero-Silva • David Flores Delgado • Gloria López González • Omarr Alonso Hernandez • Blythe Regan Herrera • Matao Herrera • Paulina Aquino López • Margarita Padilla • Claudia Pérez • Jose Rubén Lozano-Pérez • Carlos Reyes • Jackie Lynn Wright Reyes • Victor Maxmillian Rivera • Miguel Victoria-Ulloa • Arisdelsi Vuelvas-Vargas • Hugo Luis Velázquez Vasquez • Aida Velázquez Victoria • Laurence Herman Versluis July 25, 1984 Juanita Allen • Tom Altringer • Helen Frazee • James J. Stephens • Wayne Warwick Oct. 16, 1991 Patricia Carney • Jimmie Eugene Caruthers • Kriemhild “Kitty” Davis • Steven Charles Dody • Alphonse “Al” Gratia • Ursula “Suzy” Gratia • Debra Gray • Michael Griffith • Venice Ellen Henehan • Clodine Humphrey • Sylvia Mathilde King • Zona Hunnicutt Lynn • Connie Deen Peterson • Ruth M. Pujol • Su-Zann Neal Rashott • John Raymond Romero • Jr. • Thomas Earl Simmons • Glen Arval Spivey • Nancy Hedgepeth Stansbury • Olgica Andonovsk Taylor • James Walter Welsh • Lula Belle Welsh • Iva Juanita Williams Aug. 6, 1993 Wesley Scott Cover • James F. Kidd • Ethel Parrous • Peter Parrous Oct. 24, 2003 Chester W. Cavaliere • Henry “Hank” Shumake • LeRoy G. Wiese • Tiki D. Wiese Dec. 8, 2004 Darrell Abbott • Erin Halk • Nathan Bray • Jeff Thompson Nov. 29, 2009 Tina Griswold • Ronald Owens • Mark Renninger • Greg Richards April 3, 2010 Harut Baburyan • Sarkis Karadjian • Vardan Tofalyan • Hayk Yegnanyan June 6, 2010 Zaida Castillo • Maysel Figueroa • Lavinia Fonseca • Liazan Molina Aug. 14, 2010 Shawn-Tia McNeil • Willie McCaa III • Danyell Mackin • Demario Vass • Tiffany Wilhite Sept. 6, 2011 Florence Donovan-Gunderson • Heath Austin Kelly • Miranda Summerwind McElhiney • Christian Riege May 30, 2012 Joe “Vito” Albanese • Drew Keriakedes • Donald Largen • Kimberly Layfield • Gloria Leonidas Feb. 20, 2016 Judy Brown • Barbara Hawthorne • Mary Jo Nye • Mary Lou Nye • Richard Smith • Tyler Smith June 12, 2016 Stanley Almodovar III • Amanda Alvear • Oscar A. Aracena-Montero • Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala • Alejandro Barrios Martinez • Martin Benitez Torres • Antonio D. Brown • Darryl R. Burt II • Jonathan A. Camuy Vega • Angel L. Candelario-Padro • Simon A. Carrillo Fernandez • Juan Chevez-Martinez • Luis D. Conde • Cory J. Connell • Tevin E. Crosby • Franky J. Dejesus Velazquez • Deonka D. Drayton • Mercedez M. Flores • Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz • Juan R. Guerrero • Paul T. Henry • Frank Hernandez • Miguel A. Honorato • Javier Jorge-Reyes • Jason B. Josaphat • Eddie J. Justice • Anthony L. Laureano Disla • Christopher A. Leinonen • Brenda L. Marquez McCool • Jean C. Mendez Perez • Akyra Monet Murray • Kimberly Morris • Jean C. Nieves Rodriguez • Luis O. Ocasio-Capo • Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez • Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera • Joel Rayon Paniagua • Enrique L. Rios Jr. • Juan P. Rivera Velazquez • Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan • Christopher J. Sanfeliz • Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado • Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez • Edward Sotomayor Jr. • Shane E. Tomlinson • Leroy Valentin Fernandez • Luis S. Vielma • Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon • Jerald A. Wright Feb. 6, 2017 Jerrandan Allen • Edward Johnson • Kevin Johnson • Gabriel Townsend April 22, 2018 Akilah DaSilva • DeEbony Groves • Joe R. Perez • Taurean C. Sanderlin Nov. 7, 2018 Sean Adler • Cody Gifford-Coffman • Blake Dingman • Jacob Dunham • Ron Helus • Alaina Housley • Daniel Manrique • Justin Meek • Mark Meza • Kristina Morisette • Telemachus Orfanos • Noel Sparks Aug. 4, 2019 Megan Betts • Monica E. Brickhouse • Nicholas P. Cumer • Derrick R. Fudge • Thomas J. McNichols • Lois Oglesby • Saeed Salah • Logan M. Turner • Beatrice N. Warren-Curtis

* Includes victims who died as a result of the shooting, in some cases decades later due to injuries suffered at the scene.