Violence in Our Schools
August 1, 1985 through July 31, 1986
To report a threat of school violence before the instigator has a chance to act on his/her intentions, please contact Speak Up at 1-866-SPEAKUP (that is 1-866-773-2587)
I would like to thank all of the Survivors and others who have contacted me with information about school violence. I do appreciate the help, for, without their help, several of these occurrences would not be here.
One other thing I would like to ask of those who read over this list of tragedies is this: If you can provide me with any more details of any of these incidents, I would greatly appreciate the information. Or, if you know of another violent act at a school that is not on this list, please forward that information to me as well. The link to my e-mail is above.
East End Middle School, Richmond, Virginia
Wednesday, September 4, 1985
This is the second day of school for students in Richmond. When school ended today, 14-year-old Lagretta Nash and an unnamed 12-year-old boy boarded bus No. 24 for their normal ride home. The two students sat in the back of the bus with the boy sitting in the very back seat of the bus and Lagretta sitting diagonally in front of him. When the bus left the school, the boy pulled out a .38-caliber handgun and dry-fired it at the other students. After dry-firing the gun several times, he loaded it with bullets and said, "I'll shoot you, Lagretta. You and your cousins, too." To which she replied, "You won't shoot me." The other students nearby then dared the boy to shoot Lagretta. As she turned toward the unnamed boy, he fired the gun. The bullet entered her chin and exited her back. He yelled, "Oh, I shot her!" before kicking open the back door of the bus and fleeing. The bus driver had stopped the bus on Blue Ridge Avenue when she heard the shot. Other students began running out the front door. Lagretta was in stable condition after surgery at the Medical College of Virginia Hospital. The unnamed boy had obtained the gun from the top of his mom's dresser. She noticed the gun was missing this morning, but didn't call the school. Instead, she called the boy's psychiatrist and told him he may have a gun with him. She called the psychiatrist because her son had an appointment with him for this afternoon. He told her to call the police. By the time she did that, the boy had already shot Lagretta. The boy didn't go home, and it wasn't until Thursday morning when he called an aunt to pick him up that anybody knew where he was at. The boy's mother turned her son into police on Thursday. He was charged with aggravated assault and using a gun in a felony.
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch - Schoolgirl Shot in Face on Bus Here; Richmond Times-Dispatch - Police Hold Schoolboy in Shooting
Wheatley High School, Houston, Texas
Monday, September 9, 1985
Three boys (age 16, 17 and 18) who dropped out of school rode their bikes to Fleming Middle School on the afternoon of Thursday, September 5, 1985. They were asked to leave by Coach Kenneth Dixon, but they didn't listen to him. Coach Dixon picked up one of their bicycles and said he would return it after the boys left the campus. Terry Wayne Hunstberry, the trio's oldest, pulled out a small-caliber handgun and said, "I ought to pop you right now." Coach Dixon gave the bicycle back to the boys, and they left the campus. Terry was waving the gun in the air as he rode away. Houston police responded to the school to investigate, but it took them eleven days to write up a report. Meanwhile, the trio of dropouts struck again. About 4:00 this afternoon, ten members of Wheatley's drill team was practicing in their cafeteria as asbestos was being removed from the auditorium when the three dropouts walked in on them. Witnesses reported that the boys seemed to be on drugs or alcohol. They taunted their instructor and began calling the girls very ugly names when Harold Hayes, the team's sponsor and an English teacher, began to usher them out. As he did this, 17-year-old James Anthony Moore and the younger boy grabbed a broom. Harold was able to grab the other end of the broom, and a struggle began. It was quickly over when Terry pulled out a handgun and shot the 34-year-old teacher in his chest. Freshman drill team member Cynthia Martinez rushed to Harold and held him until the paramedics arrived. The boys exited the building, came across two more students on the sidewalk, robbed them at gunpoint of two gold necklaces and a ring and fled the campus via the East Freeway pedestrian crossway. Harold was rushed to Ben Taub Hospital where he was treated and interviewed by the Houston Chronicle. He said this during the interview: such incidents are "an occupational hazard." Proof that school violence was around in force in the mid-1980s. The three boys did not attend Wheatley High School. Terry had dropped out of Fleming High School in February 1983. Two months later, James had dropped out of E. O. Smith Middle School. The unnamed 16-year-old boy dropped out of the Harris County Youth Village in 1983 as well. On Thursday, September 12, 1985, police arrested Terry and the unnamed 16-year-old boy. Terry was charged with attempted murder, carrying a weapon on school premises and two counts of aggravated robbery. The younger boy was referred to Harris County juvenile authorities. On Sunday, September 15, 1985, James turned himself into the police and was charged with aggravated robbery.
Source: Houston Chronicle - 'Occupational Hazard' Teacher, Shot in Front of Team, Plans to Return; Houston Chronicle - 2 Teens Held in Shooting of Teacher; Houston Chronicle - 3rd Teen Surrenders in Teacher Shooting; Houston Chronicle - Suspects in Teacher Shooting are Linked to Earlier Threat
Langham Creek High School, Cypress, Texas
Friday, September 20, 1985
Earlier this week Assistant Principal Marvin Webster had sent 16-year-old Gerard Ingalls home with a note to his parents over the boy's haircut. This irked the boy and today he took out his frustration. Today, Gerard donned black gloves and sunglasses before casually walking through his school's crowded cafeteria just after noon. The sophomore pulled out a .357-Magnum from his backpack and shot the 33-year-old assistant principal on the right side of his body. The 600 students in the cafeteria were silenced for almost two seconds when they heard the gunfire, then they panicked, screamed and ducked for cover. Gerard fired another shot, but it missed Marvin. However, it still did damage as it ricocheted into Jeffery Snedeker's lower leg. Gerard then left the school and Principal George Hopper, and one of the school's coaches caught up to him. The two school administrators followed Gerard as he kept saying he needed a car. They tried to get him to surrender when suddenly, he turned around, crouched down like a police officer and aimed the gun toward them. Gerard didn't pull the trigger, but he did wave the gun at several students telling them to stay away. George tried to negotiate with Gerard, but the young teen refused. Police sirens pierced the air, and George tried one more time to get Gerard to hand him the gun. Gerard finally agreed if they could go back inside. Gerard walked up to George, handed him the gun and was quickly arrested by the police. While George and Gerard were outside, school nurse Debi Labay was notified that Marvin had been shot. She rushed to the cafeteria and quickly examined Marvin. He was in a lot of pain with stable vital signs. Marvin was flown to Houston's Hermann Hospital where he was in serious condition while Jeffery, 16, was transported to Cypress-Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital and listed in good condition. Cypress is northwest of Houston on US Highway 290.
Below are the memories of a Survivor of the Langham Creek High School shooting. It is posted with permission.
We were eating lunch when we hurt a loud bang. Sometimes people would pop milk cartons, and it would make a similar noise, and sometimes there would be fights in the cafeteria, so at first we all got up and stood on the cafeteria tables to see what was happening. It was very loud and very crowded. I couldn’t see anything. Someone yelled “GUN!” and there was a massive stampede out of the cafeteria to the outside of the building. We ended up sitting outside on the front lawn of the school for hours. Mr. Webster was paralyzed from the waist down from his injuries, and when he returned to school, he was in a wheelchair. I did look him up, and he appears to be standing in a photo, so perhaps he was later rehabilitated and not permanently paralyzed? I am not sure. They installed metal detectors in the school soon after this incident. It seems that they would learn from this and install metal detectors BEFORE these things happen.
Source: Houston Chronicle - Cy-Fair Student Shoots His Assistant Principal; Survivor of Langham Creek High School
Murray-Wright High School, Detroit, Michigan
Friday, October 18, 1985
Just after 3:00 today a male student was involved in a physical fight on the campus of Murray-Wright High School. The boy left the school and returned at 4:15 p.m., during halftime of the homecoming football game between Northwestern High School and Murray-Wright High School. He pulled out a shotgun and opened fire on the students watching the game. He injured six students and then fled again. All six of the injured students were taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital. One was in critical status; two others were stable, and the remaining three were treated and released. Police were still looking for the boy on Saturday.
Source: Houston Chronicle - 6 Shot, Injured at Homecoming; Houston Chronicle - Fight Occurred At School Before Shootings
Southern Hills Joint Vocational (High) School, Georgetown, Ohio
Friday, October 25, 1985
A week later in Ohio, another teenager is wounded by gunfire. During a law enforcement class lecture on weapons safety by Mount Orab Police Officer Phil Williams, 16-year-old Michelle Kyle was grazed by a bullet that discharged from his gun as he reloaded it. School officials said the shooting was accidental and that the incident would be investigated.
Source: Houston Chronicle - Gunfire Wounds Student in Class on Arms Safety
Forest Brook High School, Houston, Texas
Wednesday, November 13, 1985
Principal Dennis Flim described his students, all 2,100 of them, as "quiet and well behaved." Unfortunately, outsiders have been intruding onto school grounds and giving the school a black eye. Today is an example of that. Kelvin Bennett, 16, was leaving school this afternoon and was almost at the end of the school's driveway when two people approached him, intending to rob him of a gold necklace he was wearing. Kelvin struggled with the two assailants until one of them pulled out a gun and shot him in the left chest. The two instigators then fled the scene. Kelvin fell to the ground, and his classmates ran for cover. Eventually, he was transported to Hermann Hospital where doctors found the bullet's exit wound on his side and said he was lucky the injury was not fatal.
Source: Houston Chronicle - Intruders at School Shoot Teen
Spanaway Junior High School, Spanaway, Washington
Tuesday, November 26, 1985
Seven to ten days ago, 14-year-old 9th grader Gordon Pickett ended his relationship with fellow freshman Heather Smith. They had been dating for many months. Heather told several of her classmates that she was going to get even with Gordon for breaking up with her. She was even more specific to her friends, as she told them she was going to shoot him. Weather-wise, this was a typical late November day in Spanaway, (about seven miles south of Tacoma) with snow on the ground and the sun setting around 4:30 in the afternoon. School had let out at 2:10 in the afternoon and Heather took the bus home. Gordon and 8th grader friends Christopher Ricco and Matt Hone made their way into the school's gym, along with the rest of the wrestling team, for practice. While at home, Heather picked up a .22-caliber rifle and asked a neighbor, who was a few years older than her, to take her back to the school. Carl Joe Begay was driving past the school at 4 p.m. and saw Heather standing with the rifle (butt on the ground, barrel in her hand) on a corner adjacent to the school. Wrestling practice wrapped up at 4:20 and 30 teenage boys began cleaning up and changing their clothes. Matt finished up in the locker room, went through the gym and then exited the school from a side door. Heather was standing at the northeastern corner of the school, and she saw Matt appear at the northwestern corner of the school. She started calling his name, but because he couldn't see her clearly, the sun was setting, and the shadows were long, he started walking away from her. She then screamed his name a couple of times and Matt turned back around to see Heather waving her arms at him. He walked toward Heather, and when he approached her, he noticed the .22-caliber rifle leaning against the school's exterior wall. Heather asks Matt if he knew where Gordon was and Matt replied, "No. Why do you have a BB gun?" Heather respond, "It's not a BB gun, it's a 22." Matt then asked her, "What are you gonna do, blow his brains out?" Heather replied, "No, I don't even know how to load this thing." Just then Gordon and Chris come out of the school and walk right into Heather and Matt. Heather quickly grabs the rifle, pulls it to her hip and aims it Gordon, who is about four feet away from her. Chris reacts first and jumps in between the rifle and Gordon, his best friend. He holds his hands up in a non-threatening manner pleading with Heather not to shot his best friend. Heather fires the rifle three times, hitting Chris in the head, neck, and stomach. Matt turns and runs away from the shooting. Chris slumps to the ground, and Heather fires the rifle three more times, hitting Gordon in the head, neck, and stomach as well. Matt looked back and saw Heather kill Gordon. Gordon collapses to the ground and dies. Heather then flees the scene. About 45 minute later Matt makes it home and by now the shooting is all over the local news. The sheriff deputies arrived at the school and had Christopher, also 14, transported to Madigan Army Medical Center. While at home, Matt tried to tell his mother about what he saw, but his mother was beside herself as the news reported two wrestlers from Spanaway had been shot. Both Matt and his brother were on the wrestling team. Matt didn't know if Heather was going to come after him or not, so he went across the street to a neighbor's house. Around 7:30 p.m., Heather returned to Spanaway Junior High School. She was still carrying the rifle. SWAT team members confronted her and were within ten feet of her, saying everything would be okay. She put the rifle up to her head, then lowered it. The SWAT team members continued to tell her everything would be okay if she would just put the rifle down. She raised the rifle to her head once again, and said, "No, it wouldn't." Heather pulled the trigger again, shooting herself in the head. Heather was standing several yards from where Gordon and Christopher were standing when they were shot. She was rushed to Madigan Army Medical Center and was in critical condition. Just after midnight on Wednesday, Christopher died from his wounds. Heather, an honor student at Spanaway, died on Wednesday, November 27, 1985, at 9:45 in the morning. Not only was Heather an honor student at Spanaway, she had been an honor student every year she was in school, getting straight A's every year in all subjects. That is, until last week. Not only did her boyfriend break up with her, the report cards had just come out and Heather had received her first B, ever. After her death, an autopsy was performed, and it was discovered that she was also three months pregnant. The next day, Thursday, November 28, 1985, three families in Spanaway had a somber Thanksgiving meal.
Source: A Survivor of Spanaway Junior High School; The Seattle Times - 2 Slain as Junior-High Romance Turns Sour; The Seattle Times - 3 Die as Teen Romance Sours - Shooting at School in Spanaway Leaves Girl, 2 Boys Dead; The Seattle Times - Spanaway Tragedy - Coping with Horror, Helplessness, Loss
Beverly Hills Intermediate School, Pasadena, Texas
Monday, December 9, 1985
Friday night (December 6) Earl Neil Carter, 42 taped his wife, Barbara, 38, to a chair because she hadn't paid a bill. When she finally freed herself from the chair, she took their three children and went to a shelter for the weekend. Last night, Earl retrieved his firearms from Jerry Davis's home, his neighbor. Jerry had been keeping the weapons at Barbara's request. This morning Earl asked Jerry (who didn't know that Earl had his gun on him) to drive him to a car rental agency, but since Earl had no credit cards, he wasn't allowed to rent a vehicle. Earl then asked Jerry to drive him to the King of Glory Lutheran Church, where his wife works. As they drove along, they passed the school. Barbara had gone to Beverly Hills Intermediate School this morning to talk to a counselor about the family disturbance. As she left the school, Earl saw her, jumped out of Jerry's moving truck and began to chase Barbara. She quickly went back inside the school, and he followed. School officials guided her back into the counselor's office. Earl forced his way to office and closed the door as he entered the room. Jerry followed Earl into the school and tried to talk to him through the locked door, but Earl wasn't listening by that time. Police were called, and as school officials waited, they heard three gunshots from inside the office. Officer G. A. Brown arrived at the school, and he entered the office. Earl fired his gun at G. A., who then ordered him to put the gun down. Earl kept the gun pointed at G. A., and the officer fired upon him. The shot missed Earl. Earl refused to lower his small caliber handgun, and so G. A. fired upon him again, this time, both bullets struck down Earl. Barbara was transported to Hermann Hospital with bullet wounds in her neck and abdomen. Her condition was critical. Earl was taken to Ben Taub Hospital where he was treated for his wounds. The next day, Earl was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer and attempted murder. By this time, Barbara's condition had improved to stable.
Source: Houston Chronicle - Policeman Shoots Man in Dispute at School; Houston Chronicle - Man Charged with Attempted Murder in Shooting of Wife Inside School
Archbishop Ryan High School for Boys, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Monday, December 9, 1985
School violence struck again later that same day, this time out east. Mental health clinic outpatient Steve Gold, 22, entered the disciplinarian's office today and took six people hostage with a starter's pistol. His demand was for President Ronald Reagan to grant him leadership of the country or face the death of America. Police swarmed the school and knew he had a gun, but they didn't know it was a starter's pistol until much later in the evening. A little after 4:00, Steve sent student hostage David Hajduk to get him a soft drink, but David escaped the school entirely. Three hours later, Steve released Reverend Carl Grazek and Dorothy Gay, a school official, and a school secretary respectively. The three remaining hostages, Pat Hood, 15, Raymond Smith, 16 and Michael Wissman, 17, overpowered Steve at 8:20 p.m. to end the hostage crisis. Steve was taken to a hospital for observation. He was charged with five counts each of false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, simple assault, making terrorist threats and kidnapping. Also, he was charged with possession of an instrument of a crime and recklessly endangering another person.
Source: Houston Chronicle - Three Youths Subdue Man Holding Hostages at School
Portland Junior High School, Portland, Connecticut
Tuesday, December 10, 1985
Principal Donald Rixon told 13-year-old eighth-grader Floyd Warmsley to remove his hat because it is against school rules to wear one. Reluctant to do so, Floyd left the school, walked about 4 miles to his home and got a Tech 9mm assault gun from his father's room and returned to the principal's office. Here he confronted Donald, while he was in a meeting with gym teacher Jim Standard. When Floyd brought the gun out of his trench coat, Jim pushed him and then he and Donald made a run to an adjacent office and locked the door behind them. Floyd then shot through the protected glass of the steel door (approximately 5" x 10") and shot secretary Lynn Haddad, 53, in the shoulder. The flying glass injured Donald. Floyd then went upstairs shooting a few times into the lockers on his way up. He came to the classroom (of the Survivor whose story you are reading) and tried to get in. Seconds before, the vice principal made an announcement about where the gunshots were and to lock Floyd out of the classrooms. Through the door, Floyd was trying to talk to the kid sitting next to me (the Survivor). Floyd then went into the 7th grade room next door and took a hostage by the wrist and walked back in front of our room. He then tried to bash the glass/door with the Tech 9 to get into our room. At that point janitor David Bangston, 36, was going from the teacher's break room to the library, and Floyd then raised the gun and fired three shots from approximately 200 feet away, the entire length of the hallway and the third bullet struck David in the head killing him. The father of the seventh-grader that Floyd took hostage and another family member came to the school and talked to Floyd over the intercom system. After about three hours, Floyd tossed the gun out a school window and was taken into custody by state troopers. Being in the room next door, we were able to hear everything. We piled desks and file cabinets in front of the classroom door and huddled behind them. On the way out of the building, there were police dogs tied to lockers, and we had to step past the body of David. Lynn was taken to Middlesex Memorial and treated for her gunshot wound. At that time in the 80s, it was impossible to predict anything like this, and I feel extremely fortunate that the people involved that I keep in contact with have normal, successful lives. I did run into David Bangston's sister five years ago (in 2007) and she is still not over the loss. He left behind at the time a wife and two kids approximately 5 and 7-years-old. Thank you.
Source: Houston Chronicle - Janitor Shot to Death by 13-Year-Old Student; A Survivor of this school shooting
Roosevelt High School, Dallas, Texas
Friday, December 20, 1985
At 8:05 this morning an unnamed 15-year-old boy was walking down one of the halls at Roosevelt High School when he spotted a dollar bill lying on the floor. As he picked up the dollar, another unnamed boy, aged 16 years, came up to him claiming the dollar bill was his. The older boy then pulled out a knife. The younger boy pulled out a .22-caliber pistol and fired it at the older boy. The bullet missed its intended target and struck 17-year-old Doreen Sanders' left calf as she was waiting for her school bus. The shooter fled the school, but his cousin brought him back to the school where he surrendered to the police. Both of the boy were arrested and their weapons confiscated. Doreen was treated at Parkland Memorial Hospital. The younger boy faces charges of aggravated assault and possession of a prohibited weapon. The older boy faces charges of aggravated assault.
Source: Dallas Morning News - Bystander Shot in Leg During 2 Boys' Dispute at School
Northern High School, Durham, North Carolina
Thursday, January 9, 1986
Norma Russell was very kind hearted and one of the popular cheerleaders of Northern High. She went out of her way to befriend a very unpopular young man named David Mancuso. David was routinely picked on and insulted by his classmates. During their unstable friendship, he slipped into her bedroom closet one evening while her family was out. Norma's father found him there and sent him home. David continued to misunderstand Norma's friendly intentions and this afternoon in the school's parking lot, as school was dismissed for the day, he gunned her down with seven shots from a gun. He fled the scene, and the hunt was on for the young killer. Even off-duty Durham County Sheriff Officers were searching for David using their private vehicles. When the young killer was finally brought in, he had a nasty smirk on his face. As the police continued to investigate the killing of Norma Russell, they found on the back of one of her desk chairs a drawn tombstone with R.I.P. on it. David sat behind Norma in that classroom and drew the tombstone before he killed her.
Source: A visitor to this website
Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Saturday, April 5, 1986
University police have reports of 181 situations of auto-locking doors being propped open by residents. 19-year-old Jeanne Clery left her Stoughton Hall dormitory door propped open for her roommate, who forgot her key. With her door, and building’s door, both open, Josoph M. Henry, a student at Lehigh, entered Jeanne’s room to rob her. When she awoke while he purloined her possessions, he beat, cut, raped, sodomized, and strangled Jeanne. He confessed the murder to his friends and was subsequently apprehended. He was later sentenced to death via the electric chair, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania upon appeal. In 2002, after his death sentence was thrown out, Henry opted to give up his appeal rights and accept life in prison rather than face another death penalty hearing with the possibility of a reinstated death sentence. As Connie and Howard Clery, Jeanne parents, learned more about their daughter's death, they grew convinced that their daughter had died because of "slipshod" security on campus. Beyond this, they believed the university had "a rapidly escalating crime rate, which they didn't tell anybody about." At the time, Lehigh University's vice president John Smeaton denied claims saying security measures were "more than adequate, reasonable and appropriate for our setting and our situation. You can't prevent everything from happening." Nonetheless, the Clery family believed that campus crime statistics had been significantly underreported, and led to Clery's parents founding the nonprofit organization Security On Campus, Inc. Today the foundation is called the Clery Center for Security On Campus. Because of their sustained efforts, the Clery Act was passed in 1990, requiring universities and colleges receiving federal student financial aid programs to report crime statistics.
Source: Wikipedia – Murder of Jeanne Clery; A visitor to this website
Pine Forest Senior High School, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Friday, May 6, 1986
Major Ray Simmons went to school today armed with a .25-caliber semi-automatic handgun to settle a vendetta he has been having with fellow student Joe Roundtree. It is rumored that Joe threatened Major's life and that he went to the school administration for help. Unfortunately, none was forthcoming so Major decided to strike at Joe before Joe struck at him. Major found Joe in one of the school's halls and opened fire. The first bullet tore through Joe's neck and then lodged itself in Morgan Dickinson's shoulder. Joe began running down the hall to the nurse's office, blood spurting from his neck with every step. Across the hall, Michael Barnes was talking with his friends. Major was still firing as he chased Joe down the hall. One of Major's bullets ricocheted into Michael's shoulder, grazing his arm. Another one of the bullets lodged itself in Georgette Hardman's literature book that she was carrying in front of her stomach, her where unborn baby was growing. The students in the hall panicked and scattered to safety. In his wake, Major left a quiet, blood splattered hall. Apparently, Major was stopped before he could exact his full revenge on Joe, who made it to a hospital for treatment. In the fall of 1986, Major was sentenced to 90 days in prison for this school shooting by Judge Anthony Brannon. In 1995, Major shot his estranged wife in the hip and killed the man he found with her. He then received a much stronger sentence: 16-21 years in prison. During this same timeframe, Joe didn't become a model citizen of the community. He spent most of his time in trouble with the law, most recently jumping his probation for drug charges in Guilford County.
Source: Fayetteville Observer - A Tragedy Remembered (published 1-9-00); A Survivor of this school shooting
Cokeville Elementary School, Cokeville, Wyoming
Monday, May 16, 1986
In a ransom scheme, David and Doris Young, both in their forties, took 150 students and teachers hostage on this spring day. Their demand for $300 million dollars came to an abrupt end when Doris accidentally set off a bomb, killing herself and injuring 78 students and teachers. David wounded John Miller, a teacher who was trying to flee, then killed himself.
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