2016 in review: Tragic stories that made headlines

(MEDIA GENERAL) — 2016 saw the worst mass shooting in U.S history, shootings of black men and the killing of law enforcement officers. Hundreds more died in extremist attacks across the globe while others lost their lives in natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

Here is a look at some of the tragic stories that made headlines in 2016:

Brussels bombings

Three coordinated bombings took place in Brussels on the morning of March 22, 2016; two at the city’s airport and one at a nearby Metro station. Thirty-two people were killed and more than 300 injured. The three suicide bombers also died in the attacks, which ISIS later claimed responsibility for.

In this image provided by the Belgian Federal Police in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 of three men who are suspected of taking part in the attacks at Belgium's Zaventem Airport. (Belgian Federal Police via AP)
In this image provided by the Belgian Federal Police in Brussels on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 of three men who are suspected of taking part in the attacks at Belgium’s Zaventem Airport. (Belgian Federal Police via AP)

Death of Blue Angels pilot

Blue Angels Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss was killed June 3, 2016 when his jet crashed while practicing for the Great Tennessee Airshow in Smyrna, Tennessee. Kuss, remembered by colleagues as “truly one of the absolute finest Americans this country can produce,” leaves behind a wife and two young children.

Capt. Jeff Kuss
U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilot Marine Capt. Jeff Kuss, shown in a 2014 file photo. (WKRG file)

Pulse nightclub shooting

The massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub during the early morning hours of June 12, 2016 is now the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Gunman Omar Mateen shot and killed 49 people inside the gay nightclub before dying in a shootout with SWAT team members. During the standoff, he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Police cars surround the Pulse Orlando nightclub, the scene of a fatal shooting, in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Police cars surround the Pulse Orlando nightclub, the scene of a fatal shooting, in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Toddler dragged into water by gator

Two-year-old Lane Graves died June 14, 2016 after he was dragged underwater by an alligator at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. The Graves family, from Nebraska, was vacationing at the resort and Lane was playing near the water’s edge when he was snatched by the gator.

Officials identified Lane Graves, 2, as the boy killed by an alligator on Disney property at a press conference on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Courtesy: Orange County Sheriff's Office via Twitter)
Officials identified Lane Graves, 2, as the boy killed by an alligator on Disney property at a press conference on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. (Courtesy: Orange County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter)

Deadly flooding in West Virginia

Eight to 10 inches of rain in less than 12 hours caused widespread flooding in West Virginia and parts of Virginia in late June. Twenty-three people died as a result of the flood, which is the deadliest in the U.S. since the 2010 flood in Tennessee. More than 1,200 homes were destroyed.

Paul Raines looks over his flooded Western Auto store in Rainelle, W. Va., Saturday, June 25, 2016. Heavy rains that pummeled West Virginia left 23 people dead. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Paul Raines looks over his flooded Western Auto store in Rainelle, W. Va., Saturday, June 25, 2016. Heavy rains that pummeled West Virginia left 23 people dead. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Istanbul airport attack

Gunmen armed with automatic weapons and explosive belts staged a simultaneous attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on June 28, 2016. Forty-five people were killed and more than 230 people were injured. The three attackers were also killed.

Passengers embrace each other at the entrance to Istanbul's Ataturk airport, early Wednesday, June 29, 2016 following their evacuation after a blast. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Passengers embrace each other at the entrance to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, early Wednesday, June 29, 2016 following their evacuation after a blast. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Shooting of Alton Sterling

Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police outside a convenience store where he was selling CDs in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 5, 2016. His death led to Black Lives Matter demonstrations and protests across the country.

Nishka Johnson touches a makeshift memorial for Alton Sterling, outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police outside the store where he was selling CDs. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Nishka Johnson touches a makeshift memorial for Alton Sterling, outside a convenience store in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Sterling was shot and killed by Baton Rouge police outside the store where he was selling CDs. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Shooting of Philando Castile

A day after Alton Sterling’s death, on July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed during a traffic stop in suburban Minneapolis. The killing further inflamed debate over policing practices and the Black Lives Matter movement. Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, broadcast the moments after the killing on Facebook Live.

A memorial including a photo of Philando Castile adorns the gate to the governor's residence where protesters continue to demonstrate in St. Paul, Minn., against the July 6, 2016 shooting death of Castile by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn.(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
A memorial including a photo of Philando Castile adorns the gate to the governor’s residence where protesters continue to demonstrate in St. Paul, Minn., against the July 6, 2016 shooting death of Castile by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn.(AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

5 police officers killed in Dallas

On July 7, 2016, five police officers were shot and killed while working to keep the peace at a protest in Dallas over the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Nine other people were injured. The gunman, Micah Xavier Johnson, was killed following an hours-long standoff with police.

A member of the Dallas Police Choir passes the portraits of five fallen officers prior to a memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. The officers, from left, Michael Krol, Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith and Patrick Zamarripa, were killed and several others injured in a sniper attack in Dallas on Thursday night, July 7. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
A member of the Dallas Police Choir passes the portraits of five fallen officers prior to a memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, Tuesday, July 12, 2016. The officers, from left, Michael Krol, Brent Thompson, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith and Patrick Zamarripa, were killed and several others injured in a sniper attack in Dallas on Thursday night, July 7. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Bastille Day attack in Nice, France

Eighty-six people were killed on July 14, 2016 when a truck plowed through a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France. More than 430 people were injured. The driver Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident of France, was shot and killed by police. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Attack in Nice
A large white truck mowed through a crowd of revelers gathered for a Bastille Day fireworks display in the Riviera city of Nice, France on July 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

3 officers killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

On July 17, 2016, in response to the killing of Alton Sterling, Gavin Eugene Long ambushed six officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, killing three of them. Long, who associated himself with organizations linked to black separatism and the “sovereign citizens” movement, was shot and killed by a SWAT officer during a shootout with police at the scene.

Baton Rouge Police block Airline Highway after police were shot in Baton Rouge, La., Sunday, July 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Baton Rouge Police block Airline Highway after police were shot in Baton Rouge, La., Sunday, July 17, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)

Deadly flooding in Louisiana

Prolonged rainfall in August 2016 caused catastrophic flooding in parts of Louisiana. The flood, called the worst U.S. natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, resulted in 13 deaths.

Sgt. Brad Stone of the Louisiana Army National Guard gives safety instructions to people loaded on a truck after they were stranded by rising floodwater near Walker, Louisiana, after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (Max Becherer/AP)
Sgt. Brad Stone of the Louisiana Army National Guard gives safety instructions to people loaded on a truck after they were stranded by rising floodwater near Walker, Louisiana, after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (Max Becherer/AP)

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew strengthened to Category 5 status and caused widespread damage in the Caribbean and the southeastern United States in early October 2016. More than 1,600 deaths can be blamed on Matthew, including 45 in the U.S., making it the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Hurricane Stan in 2005.

A police officer walks past the remnants of a home leveled by Hurricane Matthew after it hit the tiny beach community of Edisto Beach, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
A police officer walks past the remnants of a home leveled by Hurricane Matthew after it hit the tiny beach community of Edisto Beach, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Deadly Chattanooga school bus crash

Six children, ages six through 10, were killed in a school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Nov. 21, 2016. Investigators said the driver, 24-year-old Johnthony Walker, was speeding at the time of the crash. He faces charges of vehicular homicide, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

Chattanooga Fire Department personnel work the scene of a fatal elementary school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 21, 2016.(Bruce Garner/Chattanooga Fire Department via Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)
Chattanooga Fire Department personnel work the scene of a fatal elementary school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tenn., Monday, Nov. 21, 2016.(Bruce Garner/Chattanooga Fire Department via Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP)

Gatlinburg, Tennessee wildfires

Fourteen people were killed as a result of wildfires that spread rapidly through the Great Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee on Nov. 22 and 23, 2016. The fire burned more than 10,000 acres and either damaged or destroyed 1,600 buildings. Two teenage boys face aggravated arson charges for starting the fire.

Gatlinburg wildfires
Sidney James Mountain Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Credit: Ashley Biggens via WATE ReportIt!)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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