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Mass Shootings in 2012: Crimesider reports on this year's public shootings

A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., about 60 miles northeast of New York City, Dec. 14, 2012. AP Photo/The New Haven Register, Melanie Stengel

A young girl is comforted following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14
Melanie Stengel/AP Photo/The New Haven Register
(CBS) Updated 12/17 - The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday was another in a long list of mass shootings in the U.S. this year.

Pictures: Mass shootings in 2012

Just three days before the massacre, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts opened fire on holiday shoppers at the Clackamas Town Center in Oregon, killing two people and then himself.

These recent shootings were just the latest involving multiple victims in public places this year. From 12 people killed in a movie theater in Colorado in July, to three high school students killed in Ohio in February, such public shooting incidents have been far from rare.

Crimesider compiled details on 13 of the 2012 shootings, attempting to determine what kind of weapons were used in each incident, and whether the suspects' firearms were obtained legally.

However, our list is not comprehensive. In July, for example, five people were shot at a basketball tournament in New York City; in March, two people were killed and 12 injured in gunfire outside a North Miami funeral home; and in June, three people died and two others were wounded in a shooting outside a Houston nightclub. Not to mention dozens of victims killed on the streets of Chicagoand other cities.

We steered away from incidents believed to involve gang violence, identifying situations where armed men (and they are all men) opened fire in a public place, killing and/or maiming those gathered there

1. February 22, 2012

Su Jung Health Sauna, Norcross, Ga.

Just days before the Su Jung Health Sauna was set to open, 59-year-old Jeong Soo Paek walked into the spa and shot and killed four people, then turned the gun on himself. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the impetus for the shooting may have been financial. The paper reported that the victims were Paek's sisters and their husbands, from whom Paek wanted money.

Weapon used: .45 caliber pistol

Gun bought legally?: Yes.

According to Captain Brian Harr of the Norcross Police Department, Paek owned the gun legally, but Harr did not know where he had obtained it.

State gun laws: Georgia does not require a background check for the transfer of a firearm between private parties (such as a transaction at a gun show), according to the Law Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence (LCPGV) Ammunition sales are not regulated, nor is the number of firearms purchased at one time limited. According to a report by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2006-2009, Georgia exported more guns used in crimes than any other state.

2. February 27, 2012

Chardon High School, Chardon, Ohio

On the morning of Feb. 27, 17-year-old T.J. Lane allegedly walked into the cafeteria of Chardon High School, pulled out a .22 caliber handgun and began shooting at students gathered there before class. Three people were killed and three others wounded. Lane was captured soon after about a mile from the school.

Lane has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. A judge ruled he will be tried as an adult.

Weapon used: .22 caliber pistol

Gun bought legally?: Unclear. The gun did not belong to Lane and Chardon Police Chief Tim McKenna told Crimesider that reports that Lane got the gun from his grandfather's barn are incorrect. However, due to a gag order in the case, he declined to say whose gun it was and whether it was purchased legally.

State gun laws: Ohio requires that a gun owner report if his firearm has been lost or stolen, but does not require background checks for gun sales between private parties, nor does it impose a waiting period on firearm purchases, limit the number of guns that can be purchased at one time, or require gun dealers to obtain a license, according to the LCPGV.

3. March 8, 2012

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Around 1:40 p.m. on March 8, police say that John F. Shick, 30, entered the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and began shooting. One person was killed and seven wounded in the attack. Shick, who had reportedly been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was killed in a shootout with police

Weapons used: Shick was armed with two 9mm handguns

Guns bought legally?: No.

According to Allegheny County District Attorney Steve Zappala, Shick bought the weapons he used in New Mexico, which, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, does not require a background check for firearm purchases between private individuals. According to an ATF investigation into the incident, Shick's Beretta 9mm was originally issued to a Texas sheriff's deputy in 1994. The deputy pawned the gun in 2000 and it eventually ended up at a gun show in Albequerque in 2010 where it was bought, without paperwork, and then sold via classified ad a year later. John Karnis, the man who bought the gun via the ad, told the ATF that he placed his own ad in the newspaper when he wanted to sell the gun in April 2011. Shick - who the seller described as "quiet and distant" - bought it from him, without paperwork.

The second firearm, an Arsenal Inc 9mm, was originally purchased in Albequerque in 1995 by a doctor who then sold it to a dealer, who then sold it to Karnis. Karnis sold both the Arsenal and the Beretta to Shick in April 2011.

Zappala said that Shick previously tried to buy a gun in Oregon, but was unable to do so, possibly because he had once been committed to a psychiatric institution there. Because of that, and another such commitment in New York, Shick would not have been able to buy a gun legally in Pennsylvania.

Zappala also said that Shick ordered the ammunition he used from Europe over the internet.

State gun laws: Pennsylvania requires a background check for private purchase of a firearm, but does not impose a limit on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, nor does the state impose a waiting period or regulate ammunition sales, according to the LCPGV.

4. April 2, 2012

Oikos University , Oakland, Calif.

On April 2, One L. Goh, 43, allegedly killed seven people and injured three more when he opened fire at the small Christian college in Oakland. Goh had been a nursing student at the college which catered to Korean immigrants, before withdrawing in 2011. He was reportedly angry that the college had not refunded several thousand dollars of his tuition.

Goh was arrested after walking into a nearby grocery store and reportedly saying, "I just shot some people." He has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. Pretrial for the case is scheduled to begin Oct. 1.

Weapons used: A semiautomatic handgun and four magazines of ammunition

Gun bought legally?: Yes.

The gun was purchased in California about two months prior to the shooting, according to the Oakland Police Department.

State gun laws: By most accounts, California has the strictest gun laws in the country. According to the LCPGV, the state imposes a 10-day waiting period on all firearm purchases and in 1999 mandated that waiting periods and other restrictions be extended to purchases made at gun shows. California also bans all large capacity ammunition magazines and most assault weapons and 50 caliber rifles. In 2007, California became the first state to require microstamping of handguns. That's the process of imprinting microscopic characters on firearms that will transfer to bullet casings, thus allowing police to trace bullets found at a crime scene without having to recover the weapon itself.

5. May 30, 2012

Cafe Racer, Seattle, Wash.

Just before 11 a.m. on May 30, 40-year-old Ian L. Stawicki allegedly started shooting inside a Seattle café near the University of Washington-Seattle campus. Police say Stawicki killed four people inside the café, which was known as a gathering place for local artists and musicians. According to the Seattle Times, police say Stawicki then shot a woman near the Town Hall and stole her SUV. By 4p.m., he had reportedly abandoned the SUV and soon after being surrounded by police, fatally shot himself in the head.

Weapons used: Stawicki was armed with two .45 caliber semiautomatic handguns

Guns bought legally?: Yes.

Stawicki had legally purchased both guns, as well as two others. He also had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon.

In February 2008 Stawicki was charged with four misdemeanor domestic violence counts, but the charges were later dropped. In her statement, his girlfriend at the time wrote that "starting last winter, he became more violent, breaking my things, losing control of his feelings, there's no pattern." In 2010, he was arrested for allegedly assaulting his brother, though those charges were also dropped, according to the Times.

State gun laws: Washington State does not require background checks for the purchase of a firearm between private parties, according to the LCPGV. The National Rifle Association reports that the state does not require gun buyers to have a license or permit, nor do Washington State gun owners have to register their guns. The state does, according to the LCPGV, prohibit some individuals with records of domestic violence from owning firearms.

6. June 9, 2012

Auburn University pool party, Auburn, Ala.

During an afternoon pool party in an apartment complex near the Auburn University campus, 22-year-old Desmonte Leonard allegedly got in an argument over a woman and then opened fire, killing three people and injuring three others. Leonard eluded police for several days, and finally turned himself in on June 12.

In September, Leonard pleaded not guilty to three counts of capital murder, and two counts of assault.

Weapons used: Unclear. According to Captain Tom Stofer of the Auburn Police Department, police have found a firearm they believe may have been used in the shooting and have sent it for testing.

Gun bought legally?: Unclear.

State gun laws: Alabama does not require gun owners to register their firearms, nor does the state impose a waiting period or background check on private purchases, according to the LCPGV. The state also does not prohibit the sale or transfer of assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines. However, according to the NRA, "it is unlawful for a drug addict, habitual drunkard, or one who has been convicted of a crime of violence to own or possess a handgun." Minors are also not permitted to carry or possess handguns.

7. July 17, 2012

Copper Top bar, Tuscaloosa, Ala.

During the early morning hours of July 17, 44-year-old Nathan Van Wilkins allegedly opened fire in a crowded bar near the University of Alabama. Seventeen people were injured in the attack but no one was killed. According to the Tuscaloosa News, less than an hour before he arrived at the bar, Wilkins went to a nearby home and shot at a man inside the house, possibly in a case of mistaken identity.

Wilkins has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder.

Weapon used: Unclear. According to Sgt. Kip Hart of the Tuscaloosa Sheriff's Department, Wilkins' gun has not yet been recovered, but he believes it was likely an "AK-47-type rifle."

Gun bought legally?: Unclear.

State gun laws: Alabama does not require gun owners to register their firearms, nor does the state impose a waiting period or background check on private purchases, according to the LCPGV. The state also does not prohibit the sale or transfer of assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines. However, according to the NRA, in Alabama "it is unlawful for a drug addict, habitual drunkard, or one who has been convicted of a crime of violence to own or possess a handgun." Minors are also not permitted to carry or possess handguns.

8. July 20, 2012

Century 16 movie theater, Aurora, Colo.

Just after midnight on July 20, police say James Holmes, dressed in black and sporting nearly head-to-toe tactical garb, set off some sort of smoke bomb inside Theater 9 of the Century 16 movie theater. Holmes allegedly began shooting at the audience, who was there to see a premiere of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people were killed, 58 others injured, several of whom are still hospitalized.

Holmes surrendered to police soon after the massacre in the parking lot behind the theater. His apartment was allegedly "booby-trapped," rigged with what the Aurora police chief described as "incendiary and chemical" devices which authorities disabled or detonated.

Holmes is under investigation for first-degree murder and will appear in court on July 31.

Weapons used: Police say Holmes used a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and a .40 caliber Glock handgun

Guns bought legally?: Yes.

According to Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates, all three of the guns used in the incident, plus a second Glock allegedly found in Holmes' car, were purchased legally in the state of Colorado. In the weeks leading up to the incident, police say Holmes had purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the internet.

State gun laws: Colorado imposes no waiting period to purchase a firearm, nor does it impose a limit on the number of firearms that can be purchased at one time, according to the LCPGV. The state requires mentally ill individuals who are deemed ineligible for purchasing a firearm to be reported to the federal NICS database. In 2000, in the wake of the Columbine High School massacre, the state used a ballot initiative to close the so-called "gun show loophole," in which private sales do not require a background check. However, the state does not prohibit a person from purchasing assault weapons or large capacity magazines. Colorado gun owners do not have to obtain licenses, register their guns, or report lost or stolen guns.

9. August 5, 2012

Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Oak Creek, Wis.

As worshippers prayed and meditated, 40-year-old Wade Michael Page walked into the temple and opened fire, killing six. Wade, who was reportedly a white supremacist, was killed in a shoot-out with police.

Weapons used: 9mm handgun

Guns bought legally?: Yes.

State gun laws: According to the National Rifle Association, Wisconsin requires no license or permit to purchase or carry a firearm. The LCFPGV reports that the state requires a 48-hour waiting period for the purchase of a handgun if the gun is purchased from a licensed federal dealer. That waiting period is not imposed for private sales.  The state requires that mental health records be sent to a database used to background checks on people who purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.

9. August 31, 2012

Pathmark Super Mart, Old Bridge, N.J.

At around 4 a.m., former Marine Terence Tyler, 23, opened fire inside the grocery store where he had worked for less than a month. He killed two of his co-workers, 18-year-old Cristina LoBrutto and 24-year-old Bryan Breen, and then killed himself.

Weapons used: According to the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office, Tyler used a WASR-10 rifle to kill LoBrutto and Breen. A WASR-10 is a Romanian rifle similar to an AK-47. He used a .45 caliber handgun to kill himself.

Gun bought legally?: Tyler purchased both guns - as well as a shotgun - legally in California between June 2010 and November 2011, but according to the county prosecutor's office, he "misrepresented certain details" on the applications for these weapons. Once bought, Tyler made modifications to the WASR-10, making it illegal in California. Tyler moved to New Jersey in June 2012; the WASR-10 is illegal in New Jersey.

State gun laws: According to the Brady Campaign, New Jersey had the nation's second strongest gun laws, with one handgun per month purchase limit, and a permit required to purchase all firearms. The NRA reports that an ID card is also required to purchase a rifle or shotgun in the state. However, according to the NRA, owners do not need to register their firearms.


10. September 27, 2012

Accent Signage Systems office,
Minneapolis, Minn.

The day after he had been fired, Andrew Engeldinger, 36, walked into his former workplace and opened fire, killing four people and himself. Two other victims died later at the hospital, reports CBS Minneapolis.

Weapons used: Glock 9mm handgun

Gun obtained legally?: According Captain Amelia Huffman of the Minneapolis Police Department, Engeldinger bought the gun legally and it was registered to him.

State gun laws:  According to the NRA, a person must obtain a permit to purchase a handgun, but not a rifle or shotgun in Minnesota. The LCPGV reports that the state does not require a gun dealer to obtain a license. The Brady Campaign reports that a background check is not required to purchase a gun at a gun show or in a private sale in the state.


11. October 21, 2012

Azana Day Spa
, Brookfield., Wis.

Radcliffe Franklin Haughton, 45, opened fire in a suburban day spa, killing his wife, Zina Haughton, and two other women, and injuring four others before killing himself.

In a written request for a restraining order filed Oct. 8, Zina Haughton said her husband was convinced she was cheating on him and that aside from the acid threat he also vowed to burn her and her family with gas. He said he would kill her if she ever left him or called the police, according to the court papers obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Weapons used: .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun

Guns bought legally?: Unclear.

State gun laws: According to the NRA, Wisconsin requires no background check nor a license or permit to purchase or carry a firearm. The LCFPGV reports that the state requires a 48-hour waiting period for the purchase of a handgun if the gun is purchased from a licensed federal dealer. That waiting period is not imposed for private sales.  The state requires that mental health records be sent to a database used to background checks on people who purchase a gun from a licensed dealer.


12. December 11, 2012

Clackamas Town Center,
Clackamas, Ore.

Jacob Tyler Roberts, 22, walked into the mall wearing a hockey-style mask and an ammunition-packed vest and opened fire, killing two people and then himself.

Weapons used: AR-15 rifle

Guns bought legally?: Not by Roberts. Police say Roberts had stolen the weapon from someone he knew.

State gun laws: According to the Brady Campaign, Oregon requires background checks for gun sales at gun shows, but does no require a state license to possess a handgun or handgun registration. The state also does not require firearm owners to report a stolen weapon.

13. December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn.

At just after 9:30 a.m., 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire inside the K-4th grade school, killing 20 children and six adult before turning a gun on himself. Lanza had also reportedly murdered his mother, Nancy Lanza, before going on his rampage.

Weapons used: Details are still emerging. Initially, police reportedly found two handguns - a Sig Sauer and a Glock - inside the school, and a .223 caliber rifle in a car at the scene. However, authorities now report that all the children killed in the incident were shot multiple times by a semiautomatic rifle. 

Guns bought legally?: A federal official tells CBS News that, according to state records, all the weapons Lanza used were bought legally and were registered to his mother.

State gun laws: According to the NRA, Connecticut requires that a person have permit to purchase a handgun, but not  rifle. Handguns - but not rifles - must also be licensed. The Brady Campaign calls the state's gun laws "strong."


Additional reporting by Michael Roppolo

  • Julia Dahl

    Julia Dahl writes about crime and justice for CBSNews.com

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