The deadly gunfire in Oxford, Mich., on Tuesday added one more episode to a growing list of fatal shootings on school property in the United States this year, following a lull in shootings earlier in the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the news outlet Education Week, there have been 28 school shootings resulting in injury or death so far in 2021, with 20 of them reported since Aug 1. The publication says that at least nine people have been killed by gunfire on school property this year, including two people who were shot by police officers.
Before Tuesday, none of the shootings in the publication’s list involved more than one death.
School shootings are tallied in different ways by different organizations, but the trends are similar. Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control advocacy group that uses news reports to track gunshots being fired on or into school property, recorded 138 such episodes in 2021 through mid-November.
The Everytown organization’s spokesman, Noah Levine, said that there were 32 reported incidents of gunfire on school grounds in September and another 32 in October, the most for a single month since the group began counting in 2013.
Last month, a shooting that the authorities said happened during a fight at a high school in Arlington, Texas, left four people injured.
In September, a student was fatally shot at his high school in Winston-Salem, N.C. In August, police officers fatally shot an 8-year-old girl outside of a high school football game in Sharon Hill, Pa., and a middle-school student killed another student in a lunchtime shooting in Albuquerque, N.M.
Large-scale shootings in all public places, not just schools, fell sharply in 2020. But other types of shootings — including homicides in which the killer knew the victim — appeared to have been more frequent in 2020 than in 2019. The Gun Violence Archive, which defines a mass shooting as an episode in which four or more people are injured or killed, not including the perpetrator, counted 611 such shootings in 2020, compared with 417 the year before. The group’s tally for 2021 is already over 650, with a month left to go in the year.