There are several documented cases where armed citizens have stopped mass attacks by gunmen. Let me list a few: The Pearl, Mississippi school shooting was stopped by the vice principal Joel Myrick with a Colt .45, The Appalachian School shooting was stopped by two students with handguns. Both of the above incidents were stopped by the armed citizens threatening the shooter without firing.
Pearl High School Link October 1, 1997
Appalachian Law School Link January 16, 2002
Plans to slay everyone in the Muskegon, Michigan, store and steal enough cash and jewelry to feed their "gnawing hunger for crack cocaine" fell apart for a band of would-be killers after one of their victims fought back.
Muskegon Shooting Link August 23, 1995
The mass church shooting in Colorado Springs was stopped by the shooter being shot by a church member with a CCW permit.
New Life Church Link 9 December, 2007
The Santa Clara gunshop shooting in 1999 was stopped by an armed citizen after the shooter declared that he was going to kill everyone. Police found a list of intended victims in his car. Only the perpetrator, Richard Gable Stevens was shot.
Santa Clara Gunshop Link July 5, 1999
The 17 December, 1991, Aniston, Alabama defense where a CCW holder stopped armed robbers who were herding employees, customers, and his wife into a cooler. He shot both robbers, killing one.
17 December, 1991, 20 innocent lives saved, and it wasn't even news to ABC, CBS, NBC, or CNN__no bloody innocent bodies for the "film at eleven." What's more, it never even made it in to the largest Georgia daily newspaper. I was doing a site inspection of our Warner Robins (Robins AFB) classified/crypto account at the time.
Aniston Shoney's Shooting Link
July 13, 2009, in Virginia at the Golden Food Market: The gunman tried to shoot several people, was stopped by a CCW carrier.
Golden Food Market Shooting Link
Just recently, 29 July, 2012 in Early Texas, armed citizen Vic Stacy shot and stopped a deranged man who had just murdered two neighbors and was firing at police with a rifle. Stacy made a very long shot with his revolver, three times as far as the perpetrator was from the police officer, who had an AR-15 type rifle.
Early Texas Peach House Shooting Link
Updated link to Peach House Shooting one Year Later
That sounds like a very good story... but it never made the national news.
I wonder who made the decision to spike that story.
Of course, when a mass shooting is stopped by an armed citizen, there are not as many victims. This leads to the charge that it would not really have been a “mass shooting”.
I have added this incident at the request of a reader:
Abraham Dickman had a history of anger against employees of the AT&T store in New York Mills, New York. On May 27th, 2010, he walked into the store with a .357 and a list of six employees. He shot the first employee, but was stopped from further attacks when Donald J. Moore, an off duty police officer who was allowed to carry his own handgun when not on duty, drew and fired his .40 caliber, killing Mr. Dickman before he could fire any more shots.
AT&T store Link
Here is another likely candidate.
College Park, GA, May 4, 2009.
Two gunman entered a party and ordered the men separated from the women. Then they started counting bullets. “The other guy asked how many (bullets) he had. He said he had enough,” said Bailey.
When one of the assailants prepared to rape a girl, a student was able to access a handgun and engage the two attackers in a firefight, driving one off and killing the other before the thug could rape his girlfriend.
“I think all of us are really cognizant of the fact that we could have all been killed,” said Bailey.
College Park Link
Another off duty police officer stopped the Trolley Square shooting with his personal handgun. He stopped the killing and contained the shooter until police reinforcements arrived and ended the situation. February 12, 2007
Trolley Square Shooting Link
Winnemucca NV shooting, 25 May, 2008
The shooter, Ernesto Villagomez, entered the Players Bar and Grill and killed two people. He reloaded and was continuing to shoot when a citizen with a concealed carry permit shot him and stopped the killing.
Winnemuca Shooting Link
Parker Middle School Dance Shooting April 24, 1998
14 Year old Andrew Jerome Wurst Killed one person and wounded three others when he was confronted by James Strand who subdued Wurst with a shotgun and held him until police arrived.
Parker Middle School Dance Shooting Link
Destiny Christian Center Shooting, April 24, 2012
Kiarron Parker rammed his car into another in the church parking lot, got out and attempted to kill multiple church members. He was only able to kill one before a member of the congregation, the nephew of the lady killed, and an off duty police officer, drew his handgun and shot Parker, stopping the killing.
Destiny Christian Center Shooting Link
Tyler Courthouse shooting, 2005 While police officers were involved in this shooting before and after Mark Alan Wilson intervened, no more people were killed after he shot the shooter, who had body armor, and who was able to return fire and kill the CCW holder, Wilson.
Tyler Courthouse Shooting Link
Clackamas Mall Shooting 11 December, 2012
I include this story because it is recent and has been getting some interest on the net. This case is not as clear as the others listed. This incident is similar to the more common defensive uses of guns because the mere display of the gun was enough to defuse the situation. We can never know if the shooter decided to commit suicide because he was confronted by Nick Meli, the CCW holder, as the shooter is dead. However, many mass shooters commit suicide when they know that armed resistance is at hand.
Clackamas Concealed Carry Showdown Link
I have added this link as suggested by Doug Kuiphoff in the comments. I do not think that it qualifies as a mass shooting stopped, because the potential shooter says that he did not intend to shoot anyone, but to kidnap some people. Still, it is an interesting story, so here is the link:
SC:Boiling Springs Freewill Baptist Church event
Added, from 9 September, 2012. Consider that the Plymouth shooting incident happened just three months before Sandy Hook. Mark Ktytor, a concealed carry permit holder, stopped a likely mass killing before it reached enough victims to officially quallify. From the citizensvoice.com:
"Mark Ktytor?" the latest in the stream of reporters asked, trying to put a face to the name of the man investigators credited with preventing a fatal bar shooting last weekend from escalating into a massacre.Link to Plymouth, PA Shooting story
This is the oldest incident that I have found. I include it because it is in the "modern era". It occurred in 1915, in Brunswick, Georgia. It is a bit unusual in that 20 or more people were wounded and at least five killed. The citizen who finally stopped the slaughter obtained the pistol used from a hardware store during the attack. The shotgun was actually a double barreled model.
Angered by losses in a real estate deal, Monroe Phillips, a lead business man, ran amuck today with an automatic shotgun and killed five men and wounded twenty others before he himself was killed. Phillips was shot dead by E.C. Butts, a lawyer, while he was trying to fire upon citizens who appeared in the street.
Link to 1915 Brunswick GA Mass Shooting story
Link to the 1915 NYTs Article
Link to Doctor Stops Murderer at Phildelphia Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital 24 July, 2014
ATLANTA — A mental-health caseworker is dead and a doctor and his patient wounded after a bizarre gunfight at a gun-free-zoned hospital in Yeadon, Pa., near Philadelphia, Thursday. As police prepare murder charges against the wounded patient, focus is shifting to the gun-toting psychiatrist who stopped the mayhem, likely saving other lives.
Prosecutors say Dr. Lee Silverman opened fire on Richard Plotts, after Mr. Plotts shot his caseworker and barged his way toward Dr. Silverman’s office desk after gaining access to Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital. Silverman crouched down behind his desk and fetched his gun, which he then fired at Mr. Plotts, wounding him several times before he was subdued.
Comment on some of the media coverage of a rare firearms defense in a gun free zone
Doctor Stops Murderer at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital 24 July, 2014
Falah Barbershop shooting May 22, 2015 at West Philadelphia.
A 40-year-old man was inside Falah Barber Shop Inc. on the 600 block of Preston Street shortly before 3 p.m. Sunday when police say he began fighting with another person inside.
"The person who responded was a legal gun permit carrier," said Philadelphia Police Captain Frank Llewellyn. "He responded and I guess he saved a lot of people in there."Link to Philadelphia Barbershop shooting stopped by Armed Citizen with CCW Permit
Uber driver Shoots Gunman who is shooting into Crowd in Chicago, 19 April, 2015
The driver had a concealed-carry permit and acted in the defense of himself and others, Assistant State's Attorney Barry Quinn said in court Sunday.
A group of people had been walking in front of the driver around 11:50 p.m. Friday in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue when Everardo Custodio, 22, began firing into the crowd, Quinn said.
The driver pulled out a handgun and fired six shots at Custodio, hitting him several times, according to court records.
Link to Uber Driver Hero in Chicago article
Los Altos Skate Park Shooting
The mass shooting took place on 22 March, 2015. It took a while for the police to figure out what happened from cell phone video, but apparantly a criminal gang attempted to steal a skateboard, then opened up on the mass of skate boarders when they attempted to retrieve the stolen item. At least three people were shooting illegaly, hitting six innocents, paralyzing one, until a legal handgun carrier was able to fire back, killing one of the aggressors, 17 year old Jaquise Lewis. That stopped the attack.
Link to Los Altos Skate Park Shooting