Confirmed School Shootings Related to Pharmaceuticals, 1998-2012
Source: Citizens Commission on Human Rights International
1. Newtown, Connecticut – December 14, 2012: 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed
20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Family members say Lanza was taking psychotropic drugs for a personality disorder, although no one has confirmed the specific brand yet.
2. Huntsville, Alabama – February 5, 2010: 15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed
another Discover Middle School student Todd Brown. Memon had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.” He had been seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist.
3. Kauhajoki, Finland – September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot
and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine. He was also seeing a psychologist.
4. Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed
five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.
5. Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen
had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.
6. Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school
with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.
7. Red Lake, Minnesota – March 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed
his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 7 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.
8. Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high
school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”. He had previously seen a psychiatrist.
9. Wahluke, Washington – April 10, 2001: Sixteen-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle
to his high school and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. He had been taking the
10. El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the
antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
11. Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the
antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.
12. Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with the
stimulant Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.
13. Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.
14. Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in
his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.
15. Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and
then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac. Kinkel had been attending “anger control classes” and was under the care of a psychologist. Recent Murders/Murder-Suicides Committed by Individuals on Psychiatric Drugs, 2010-2012 10 recent murders and murder-suicides, resulting in 56 dead and 80 wounded:
1. Aurora, Colorado – July 20, 2012: 25-year-old James Holmes opened fire in a crowded
movie theater, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. Holmes was addicted to the prescription painkiller Vicodin.
2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012: 30-year-old John Shick, former patient of
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and former student at nearby Duquesne University, shot and killed one and injured six inside UPMC’s Western Psychiatrist Institute. Nine antidepressants were identified among the drugs police found in Shick’s
3. Seal Beach, California – October 12, 2011: Scott DeKraai, a harbor tugboat worker,
entered the hair salon where his ex-wife worked, killing her and seven others and injuring one. At DeKraai’s initial hearing, his attorney indicated to the judge that DeKraai was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone and the “mood stabilizer” Topamax.
4. Lakeland, Florida – May 3, 2009: Toxicology test results showed that 34-year-old Troy Bellar was on Tegretol, a drug prescribed for “bi-polar disorder,” when he shot and killed his wife and two of his three children in their home before killing himself.
5. Granberry Crossing, Alabama – April 26, 2009: 53-year-old Fred B. Davis shot and
killed a police officer and wounded a sheriff’s deputy who had responded to a call that Davis had threatened a neighbor with a gun. Prescription drug bottles found at the scene showed that Davis was prescribed the antipsychotic drug Geodon.
6. Middletown, Maryland – April 17, 2009: Christopher Wood shot and killed his wife,
three small children and himself inside their home. Toxicology test results verified that Wood had been taking the antidepressants Cymbalta and Paxil and the anti-anxiety drugs BuSpar and Xanax.
7. Concord, California – January 11, 2009: Jason Montes, 33, shot and killed his wife and
then himself at home. Montes had earlier begun taking the antidepressant Prozac for depression related to his impending divorce and a recent bankruptcy.
8. Little Rock, Arkansas – August 14, 2008: Less than 48 hours after Timothy Johnson
shot and killed Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney, the Little Rock Police declared they were investigating shooter’s use of the antidepressant Effexor, which was found in Johnson’s house. A Little Rock city police report later stated that Johnson “was on an anti-depressant and that the drug may have played a part in his ‘irrational and violent behavior.’”
9. Omaha, Nebraska – December 5, 2007: 19-year-old Robert Hawkins killed eight people
and wounded five before committing suicide in an Omaha mall. Autopsy results confirmed he was under the influence of the “anti-anxiety” drug Valium.
10. North Meridian, Florida – July 8, 2003: Doug Williams killed five and wounded nine of
his fellow Lockheed Martin employees before killing himself. Williams was reported as having been taking two antidepressants, Zoloft and Celexa, for depression after a failed marriage.
11. Wakefield, Massachusetts – December 26, 2000: 42-year-old computer technician
Michael McDermott had been taking three antidepressants when he hunted down employees in the accounting and human resources offices where he worked, killing seven.
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