KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The middle of April has been a calamitous time in history, with a series of tragic events happening locally, nationally, and across the world. Between April 11 and April 20, more than a dozen disasters shaped the course of history.
April 11: Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak
On April 11,1965, known as the “Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak,” dozens of tornadoes raked six Midwestern states on Palm Sunday, killing 271 people. This was the fourth deadliest tornado outbreak in U.S. history and the deadliest of all Indiana outbreaks.
April 12: The Civil War begins
April 12, 1861, the Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
April 12: President Roosevelt dies
On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
April 13: Jewish Community Center shootings
On April 13, 2014, two shootings occurred at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City and Village Shalom in Overland Park, Kansas. The three victims were 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood an dhis 69-year-old grandfather, Dr. William Lewis Corporon and a 53-year-old woman identified as Terri LaManno. All three were Christian. The suspect, Frazier Glenn Cross, was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2015.
April 14: Sinking of Titanic
On April 14, 1912, the British liner RMS Titanic collided with an iceberg in the North Atlantic at 11:40 p.m. ship’s time and began sinking. The ship went under two hours and 40 minutes later with the loss of 1,514 lives.
April 14: Assassination of President Lincoln
On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth during a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Lincoln died the following day, nine hours after being shot. Andrew Johnson became the nation’s 17th president.
April 15: Boston Marathon bombing
On April 15, 2013, two bombs made from pressure cookers exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 260. Suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a shootout with police; his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
April 15: Notre Dame Cathedral fire
Just two years ago on April 15, 2019, fire swept across the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral as the soaring Paris landmark underwent renovations; the blaze collapsed the cathedral’s spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers, but fire officials said the church’s structure had been saved.
April 16: Mass shooting at Virginia Tech
On April 16, 2007, in one of America’s worst school attacks, a college senior killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
April 17: West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion
On April 17, 2013, 15 people were killed when a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas.
April 18: 1906 San Francisco earthquake
On April 18, 1906, a devastating earthquake struck San Francisco, followed by raging fires; estimates of the final death toll range between 3,000 and 6,000.
April 19: Branch Davidian siege in Waco
On April 19, 1993, the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, ended as fire destroyed the structure after federal agents began smashing their way in; about 80 people, including two dozen children and sect leader David Koresh, were killed.
April 19: Oklahoma City bombing
On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. Bomber Timothy McVeigh, who prosecutors said had planned the attack as revenge for the Waco siege of two years earlier, was convicted of federal murder charges and executed in 2001.
April 20: Shooting at Columbine High School
On April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.
April 20: Deepwater Horizon explosion
April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and caused a blow-out that began spewing an estimated 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. The well was finally capped nearly three months later.