WASHINGTON -- Just after 1 a.m. this past Sunday, police in Shreveport, La., stumbled upon a horrifying scene at the city's Cedar Grove neighborhood. Lying on the pavement with a gunshot wound in his upper body was Sidney Thomas.
A 32-year-old man who relatives said had a condition similar to cerebral palsy, Thomas is believed to have been riding his bike when he was shot. Beyond that, virtually nothing else is known, least of all the motive for killing someone who, a neighbor told the press, "couldn't even hurt a fly." A call to the Shreveport Police Department was not returned.
At a candlelight vigil to mark Thomas' death, his father, Marvin Thomas, talked about the personal moments that had been taken away from him by the still-unidentified shooter.
"[The] number one thing I'm going to miss about Sidney is seeing him every day, saying, 'Dad, I love you. Yes, I do dad,'" Thomas said, according to KTAL.
Instances like the one that took place on a street in Shreveport seem senseless in the moment. But they are also fairly common across the country. While the nation looked on in shock as a gunman shot down a reported 12 workers at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning, in the preceding weekend at least 44 shootings took place across the country, according to a Huffington Post review of news reports (there are, undoubtedly, more that were missed). A total of 57 people were shot in those incidents. Many died; some didn't. And none drew much notice outside of the communities affected.
That's because gun violence has become firmly stitched into the culture of America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 31,328 deaths by firearms in 2010. The number is expected to rise to roughly 33,000 in 2015 -- at which point guns will cause more deaths than car accidents.
The U.S. long ago became calloused to these numbers. Only cases with a high body count -- like the one that took place on Monday -- have drawn horrified reactions and feeble attempts at a political response. These episodes of mass homicide are also happening more frequently, but only account for a small portion of the overall gun-related fatalities in this country. A look at the days prior to the Navy Yard shooting offers a much more honest snapshot of violence and death in America.
On Saturday afternoon, a pair of cousins were shot and killed in Newark, N.J. Damien Matteaux, 23, and Nyquese McCollum, 16, were on their way to pick up Matteaux's girlfriend when they were hit. They were murders No. 63 and 64 in Newark for the year.
Later that night, two people were shot dead in an apparent murder-suicide inside a Conway, S.C., bingo hall. The victim, Ebony Parson, 28, had run away from home after being held against her will by Richard Register, 41. According to police, he tracked her down, shot her and then turned the gun on himself.
In Columbia, S.C., on Saturday, a woman was shot and killed by a man she once dated. Zelda Kollock, 51, died from complications from gunshot wounds after being allegedly shot by John Washington, 58. Witnesses say they got into an argument, he shot her in the upper body, then moved her into her home's garage before fleeing.
Over a 24-hour period in Boston, starting at midnight on Saturday, eight people were shot in total. One of the victims, Nelson Castillo, 25, died from his wounds. Three people alone were shot outside the popular Stadium Sports Bar.
On Friday night, a 9-year-old boy was shot in the chest while playing in his grandmother's back yard in Pine Lawn, Mo. Four children were on the back patio when the incident took place, and the grandmother said she felt someone was trying to kill her family, compelling police to call the incident "an assault first [degree] on the children."
At 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, Steven Edward Briscoe, 54, was found shot dead in his driveway in Lawrenceburg, Ky. His son, a high school basketball player, was asleep in the back bedroom of the house at the time of the shooting and was only awoken when the sheriff knocked on the door.
On Friday, in the western Alaska village of Tununak, a 24-year-old father reportedly shot and killed his 2-year-old son. A police affidavit, issued on Saturday, said that the child, Kyle Moses, had been shot in the head and that the father, Edward Moses, had been upset with the child's mother for seeing another man.
At roughly 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Kansas City police found two people shot dead inside an apartment complex.
Earlier that morning in Chicago, Miguel Delgado was fatally shot in the head. He was 19 years old and had gotten into an argument outside of a bar, police said.
The day before, in the same city, separate shootings left two 14-year-old classmates hospitalized with gunshot wounds. One of those classmates, Brianna Jones, was caught in gang crossfire and shot in the leg.
On Sunday morning, in North Philadelphia, Steve Peeples, 39, was fatally shot in the head and stomach while in his living room.
That same morning, a 13-year-old San Antonio boy died after being shot while standing in his front yard.
Friday afternoon, as the weekend neared, Aaron Addison, 22, was killed two blocks from his home, becoming Fort Myer's ninth homicide victim on the year. "They need to stop," a local woman said of the killings.
In Wilmington, Del., an 18-year-old was left with a gunshot wound in his chest and a 22-year-old suffered gunshot wounds in his left arm and thigh after a Saturday afternoon shooting.
The night before, in the same city, a 17-year-old boy was found unresponsive after being shot in the chest.
In Charlotte, N.C., two separate shootings had law enforcement and medics scrambling on Saturday. Neither resulted in life-threatening injuries.
In a late Friday shooting in York, Pa., a man, 26, was shot in the head and left with life-threatening injuries in what authorities assume was a drug turf battle.
Early on Saturday morning, a 20-year-old man from Milwaukee was shot after leaving a party. His injuries were not life threatening.
Late Friday night, a woman was shot after leaving a bar in St. Louis. Intoxicated, she went home without realizing she'd been hit, only to wake up to a gunshot wound in her leg.
At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, police found a man shot to death in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Portsmouth, Va. While police investigated the scene, two other people showed up at a nearby hospital with gunshot injuries.
In Midwest City, Okla., six teenagers were arrested for the shooting death of a woman. She was shot in the chest after answering the front door.
In Norfolk, Va., on Saturday night, a boy and a girl were transported to a hospital after suffering non-life-threatening injuries from gunshot wounds. In Hazelton, Pa., a 40-year-old man was shot and flown to a hospital on Saturday. In Horry County, S.C., on Saturday, a portion of the highway had to be shut down after two people fired shots at a state trooper. In Norman, Okla., a man died from a gunshot wound on Saturday morning. On Friday night, in Des Moines, Iowa, 10 gunshots were fired in a drive-by shooting near an elementary school. On Saturday, in Montclair, N.J., a drive-by shooting resulted in two bullet holes in the intended victim's car.
In Rowan County, N.C., a man accidentally shot his friend in the groin while showing him a gun. In nearby Charlotte, meanwhile, Aundraveious McDowell, 19, was charged with attempted murder for shooting Warren Duvant, 22, in the groin on Friday afternoon during a dispute over a moped.