CALIFORNIA – At least 255 people have died in 50 mass murders in California since 2006. This is based on data compiled by The Associated Press and made available to Patch.
Nationwide, more than 2,400 people have died in 457 mass murders in the last 15 years and four months – defined by The AP as incidents in which four or more people died.
They died from gunshots nearly 80 percent of the time (stab wounds were the second leading cause of death, occurring 7 percent of the time); and victims died almost as often from family members as they did in school, at work, and in other public places.
The risk posed to people in their homes by family members is confirmed in a recent study by the Council on Criminal Justice, which found domestic violence in the United States rose 8.1 percent after home warnings were imposed to control the violence spread of the coronavirus.
“I just think of the tribute that victims of domestic violence have to pay and then of the children in the house who witness and witness that violence,” said researcher Alex Piquero, a professor of sociology at the University of Miami and a criminologist, who co-authored the study, told US News & World Report.
In the period analyzed by The AP, 998 people died in 219 mass murders of family members.
In California, 18 mass murders have been committed by family members since 2006, killing 93 people.
Guns were used in 40 of the 50 mass murders in California.
Mass murders in California since 2006 include:
The 2021 Orange County shooting in a commercial building: After the gunman closed the yard gate, he entered the office of United Homes, a mobile home real estate company, and opened fire, killing owner Luis Tovar, 50. his daughter Genevieve Raygoza, 28; long-time employee Leticia Solis Guzman, 58; and 9 year old Matthew Farias who was Genevieve’s half brother. Matthew’s mother, Blanca Tamayo, who is also Genevieve’s mother, was wounded. She also worked at Unified Homes. When the police arrived, they found Tamayo’s arms around her son. Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez, 44, has been identified as a suspected shooter. According to the police, he knew all of his victims.
The 2020 killing of seven people of Lao descent who were shot dead at a Riverside County residency agency said it was the only 2020 mass murder “used to make and harvest an illegal marijuana operation”. Six of the victims were killed on the scene and a seventh was hospitalized and died later that day. Sheriff Chad Bianco said the operation was carried out by a local Laotian organized crime syndicate that he believes is based in the United States.
In 2019, 26-year-old Gerry Dean Zaragoza raged in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles county, killing four (including his father and brother) and injuring two others (including his mother). The other two victims killed were a mother of four, whom Zaragoza had been obsessed with for some time, and a man he shot dead on a bus. The shooting began in Canoga Park, then to North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys, where Zaragoza was arrested.
In 2014, a 22-year-old student in Isla Vista, frustrated by sexual refusals, made a video promise to “destroy” women on Retribution Day. Elliot Rodger, who was found dead, is suspected of the shooting that killed six people and injured seven others.
The AP database does not come close to measuring the enormous extent of gun violence and its consequences for victims and their families, witnesses, first responders and society in general.
Much of the focus on mass killings has been on cases where a gunman opens fire in a crowded public place, as multimillionaire Stephen Paddock did in 2017 when he shot a concert crowd and 60 people on the street below his hotel room in Mandalay Bay killed (two of the victims died from their injuries years later). Of the 867 injured, 411 were shot.
However, experts say that high-death mass murders are only part of the American gun violence problem and overshadow the rise in domestic and interpersonal violence.
Lisa Geller, state affairs manager for the nonprofit Coalition to Combat Gun Violence in Washington, told NBC News that shootings and murders are often viewed as “private events”.
“When we talk about mass shootings, they tend to be left out because they are seen as private events,” said Geller. “Some of these highly fatal incidents are inherently random, but when you include some incidents in private rooms, domestic violence plays a big role in mass shootings.”
What happened in 2020, a year many Americans spent in isolation in their homes trying to control the spread of the coronavirus, confirms this.
There were 108 mass murders last year. That’s less than half of the total of 237 in 2019, but the number of mass murders committed by family members has increased.
There were 31 such murders in 2020, in which 136 people died, compared to 20 mass murders in which 88 people died in 2019.
The trend so far in 2021 is alarming, and if it continues at the current pace, the year will be just as deadly as it was in previous years. The AP database, which runs through April 28, shows a dozen mass murders with a total of 68 victims, five of which were committed by family members and 23 people died.
The AP database doesn’t include those who were killed in a spate of mass murders back in May, including those who attended a fatal birthday party in Colorado over the weekend.