Iowa school shooting
An armed police officer outside Perry High School in Iowa after a shooting. Image:AFP / Christian Monterrosa

The 17-year-old boy who went on a shooting spree at a school in Iowa on Thursday allegedly took the extreme step because he was "tired of being bullied".

Dylan Butler killed one person and injured five, including the school principal, before taking his own life with a gun. The police believe that Butler planned to kill more people as an improvised explosive device was also found on his body. He opened fire on the Perry High School campus with a handgun and a shotgun on Thursday.

The police have not yet given a potential motive behind the crime, but his family has claimed that he was relentlessly being bullied since elementary school. He could not take it anymore after his sisters, Yesenia Roeder and Khamya Hall, also became targets of bullying at the school, said his family.

"He was hurting. He got tired. He got tired of the bullying. He got tired of the harassment. Was it a smart idea to shoot up the school? No. God, no," his sister Roeder told The Associated Press. Two of his friends also said the same thing adding that he was a quiet person who was bullied for years.

This is not the first case in the US wherein someone resorted to extreme violence at a school campus. Several such incidents have been reported in the past.

Gun violence in the United States:

Gun violence is all too common in the US. The country ended 2023 with more mass shootings than days in the year, according to a report by PBS News.

A survey conducted by a Swiss-based research project found that there were about 120.5 firearms per 100 residents in the US in 2018. This essentially implies that there are more guns than people in the United States.

In the United States, firearms are involved in approximately 40,000 deaths a year, including suicides, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

Lax gun laws and a constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms have repeatedly stymied attempts to clamp down on the number of weapons in circulation, despite greater controls being favoured by most Americans.

Three-quarters of all homicides in the US are committed with guns, and the number of pistols, revolvers, and other firearms sold continues to rise. According to a Pew survey conducted in June 2021, 30 per cent of American adults said they owned at least one gun.

In October last year, at least 22 people were killed and several others were left injured after a man opened fire at a restaurant and bowling alley in the city of Lewiston, Maine.

The incident was dubbed one of the deadliest since 2016, when a gunman opened fire at a music festival in Las Vegas, killing some 60 people.