Deadly shootings at a place of worship: Unthinkable but not unprecedented

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — The deadly shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas — a sanctuary and place of worship — may be unthinkable, but it’s not unprecedented.

Perhaps the incident that first comes to mind is the attack at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. Nine parishioners, all African-American, were shot by a young white man who entered their Charleston, South Carolina, church, joined their Bible study for an hour and then opened fire. The shooter targeted his victims because of their skin color.

But there have been others. Many others.

Those are just some of the reported incidents from the past decade. — the list is much longer. And it’s not just Christian churches.

  • In 2014, a gunman killed three in two separate shootings at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom in Overland, Kansas.

If you were to expand the list beyond deadly shootings, you’d have to include dozens and dozens of incidents of vandalism, arson and other crimes directed at mosques just this year alone.