UCF researcher compiles largest public database tracking school shootings

In the wake of this week's school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, experts are noticing similar patterns from other attacks.  One researcher at the University of Central Florida has compiled the largest public database tracking school shootings.

"In just the elementary school attacks since 1979, there have been 53 people killed and 153 wounded, and that’s just at ten elementary schools," said David Riedman.

Riedman, a criminal justice researcher, started tracking school shootings after the tragedy in Parkland, Florida in 2018. He said he realized there wasn't a comprehensive database tracking past school shootings, so he started his own.

"Going back through the newspaper archives, there were school shootings occurring in the 1970s, in the 1980s, in the 1990s that are very similar to the ones that we’re experiencing today," Riedman said.

Riedman said the trend he found was that these shootings are not random. He added that it is usually someone who is in some kind of personal crisis, has made violent threats, and has access to firearms.

And the key to stopping school shootings, he said, is for people who notice that pattern to intervene.

"That would have stopped the shooting in Texas a couple of days ago, the one in Buffalo last week, and hundreds of these other instances we've seen over the last 50 years," Riedman said.

In Riedman's database, you can search through public data on thousands of incidents, it has been cited by government agencies like the U.S. Government Accountability Office.