Violence in Our Schools

August 1, 1988 through July 31, 1989

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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.

West Franklin Street Elementary School, Anderson, South Carolina

Wednesday, August 31, 1988

First-year principal Dennis Ray Hepler worked late today preparing his school for the fall semester.  As the night grew long, all his preparations were done, and he left about 10 p.m.  Unfortunately, he didn't get too far as three men, Kevin Dean Young, William Henry Bell and John Glenn, accosted Dennis on the grounds of the school.  At gunpoint, they robbed him of his wallet (which contained $67.00).  Kevin, 20, then fired a fatal shot from the .25-caliber pistol into Dennis' back.  After the 35-year-old Dennis fell to the ground, William fired another shot into his head.  Kevin, William, and John then got back into the car, driven by Arthur Ray Jones and went to buy cocaine with their ill-gotten gains.  In 1989, Kevin was sentenced to death for this attack. Another jury in 1993 also sentenced him to death for this attack. William Bell also received the death sentence. John Glenn was convicted of armed robbery and accessory to murder.  He is serving a 35-year sentence.  Arthur pleaded guilty to an accessory charge.  He was sentenced to 10 years in jail with all but 7 1/2 months suspended.  In 1995, Dennis's widow, Brenda, died of breast cancer, leaving their three young daughters to be raised by an aunt. On Friday, November 3, 2000, at 6:18 p.m. Kevin was executed by lethal injection.  At the time of Kevin's death, West Franklin Elementary School was no longer a school, but a community center.  City officials remembered Dennis in 1992 by naming a city park after him. 

Source: - Kevin Dean Young # 670

Lincoln High School, Dallas, Texas

Friday, September 2, 1988

Two groups of teens fired handguns at each other across Lincoln High School's parking lot today.  Caught in the crossfire were 15-year-olds Mark Lee and LaSonya Betts.  Mark was struck in the hip while LaSonya was struck in the abdomen when the bullets began flying after a pep rally at the school. Both teens were transported to Baylor University Medical Center and listed in fair condition on Saturday.  Police arrested an unnamed 17-year-old male former student of Lincoln in connection with these shootings.

Source: Dallas Morning News - Suspects Sought in School Shooting

Montefiore School, Chicago, Illinois

Thursday, September 22, 1988

Mentally unstable 40-year-old unemployed beautician Clemmie Henderson murdered Robert Quinn and John Van Dyke at an auto parts store, wounded garbage collector Laplose Chestnut, then invaded a school for troubled boys and killed Arthur Baker, a custodian.  He was also able to kill Policewoman Irma Ruiz, injure Policeman Greg Jaglowski before being shot to death at the school on Thursday.  His weapon of choice was a .38-caliber handgun.


Arthur Baker, 33

John Van Dyke, 41

killer Clemmie Henderson, 40

Robert Quinn, 26

Irma Ruiz, 40


Laplose Chestnut, Jr., 34

Greg Jaglowski, 38

Oakland Elementary School, Greenwood, South Carolina

Monday, September 26, 1988

James William Wilson Jr. had been in and out of Self Memorial Hospital's psychiatric ward for the past eight months.  He told his father he liked going there because the anti-depression drug Xanax was really good.  So good, in fact, that whenever he got a new prescription, he would go through it in about a week and a half.  Unfortunately, his family's insurance ran out, and he stopped going to the ward.  The good-feeling drug Xanax may have offset the bad feelings he got when his classmates teased him for being overweight and dressing funny.  This morning 19-year-old James left his maternal grandmother's house in Abbeville with a 9-round .22-caliber revolver.  He stopped off at Sky City, a local department store, and bought one box of shells, then quickly changed his mind and told the cashier, "Better make it two." He left the store and the town and headed to Greenwood, where he stopped at Oakland Elementary School.  James walked in the front door of the school and into the cafeteria where about 100 first graders were eating lunch.  It was around 11:30 a.m. when he pulled out the revolver and opened fire on the students.  First-grade teacher Eleanor Hodge and two students were wounded with those first nine bullets.  James then began walking down the hall to the classrooms but stopped first in a girl's restroom to reload.  As he left the restroom, he ran into physical education teacher Kat Finkbeiner who was trying to stop him.  He shot her in the hand and mouth and quickly entered third-grade teacher Patsy Higginbotham's classroom.  He shot at her, but missed, and the bullet lodged itself in the chalkboard. "They're after me!" he screamed and fired off the remaining shots at the students in the classroom, injuring six of them.  Third grader Shequilla Bradley was fatally wounded.  Empty of bullets once again, James dropped the gun when Kat entered the room.  She forced him to surrender.  James raised his hands and offered no resistance, even when the police arrived.  Paramedics transported the injured students to the hospital, one of which was Tequila Thomas.  She never regained consciousness after being shot and died at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, 1988.  James's father described his son as a terrible-tempered hyperactive recluse fascinated by crime stories. James was kicked out of his home when he was 16.  When James had heard of Tequila's death, he said he was sorry and that he had patterned this school shooting after Laurie Wasserman Dann's rampage in Winnetka from the spring.  On April 27, 1989, Jamie pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two counts of murder and several counts of assault and battery.  He was sentenced to death.  Jamie has filed numerous appeals since then, and so far all of them have been denied. 


Shequilla Tawonn Bradley, 8

Tequila Maria Thomas, 8


Gregory Brown, 7

Heather Burke

LaShonda Burt, 8 

Joey Davis

Katherine "Kat" Finkbeiner

Eleanor Hodge

Leah Holmes, 8

Beth Johnson

Kim Simmons

Source: Dallas Morning News - Gunman Kills 1 at School; Dallas Morning News - School Shooting Aftermath; Dallas Morning News - Second Child Dies as Result of School Shooting; Index-Journal - School Shooter's Appeal Fails; The Charlotte Observer - Funeral Held for 2nd S.C. Shooting Victim; The State (Columbia, S.C.) - Shooting Victim Leaves Hospital in Greenwood; The State (Columbia, S.C.) - Uncommon Valor Oakland School Staff, Students 'Heroes'

Mascotte Elementary School, Mascotte, Florida

Monday, October 3, 1988

At 10:42 a.m. a man wearing camouflage pants and t-shirt with a "punk" haircut (spiked on the top and shaved on the sides) stood up from behind the bushes on the other side of school's fence.  He fires a rifle three times upon the students on the playground before fleeing the scene.  9-year-old Leah Wilbanks, a third-grader, was doing a cartwheel when bullet passed through her chest and stopped in her upper right arm.  She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center and treated for the single gunshot wound.  On Friday, October 28, 1998, doctors removed the bullet from Leah's arm.  Leah grew up, became a teacher and now works at Mascotte Elementary School.  She married and had a healthy baby boy in early spring 2007.

Source: Orlando Sentinel - Gunman Shoots Schoolgirl, Search on for Gunman in Camouflage Attire with Punk Rock Hair; Orlando Sentinel - Man Who Shot Schoolchild Still at Large; Orlando Sentinel - Lake Sheriff, Chief Bicker Over Sniping; Visitor to this web site

J. E. B. Stuart Junior High School, Jacksonville, Florida

Tuesday, October 4, 1988

Eight teachers, 20 students, and 13 cheerleaders were leaving Ribault Junior High School after a football game this evening when their bus was pelted with gunfire and rocks.  The bullets and rocks struck the bus on the drivers side, with the bullets penetrating all the way through the bus.  Five girls suffered minor injuries from broken glass.

Source: Miami Herald - Gunshots, Rocks Hit School Bus

Istrouma Senior High School, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Tuesday, October 4, 1988

Evelena B. Moore opened fire on cafeteria worker Beatrice Hills in the school's parking lot today.  Beatrice, 30, was not injured.  Police arrested Evelena and charged her with attempted second-degree murder.  Evelena was back at work the next day at Galvez Elementary as a special education teacher.  Ralph Ricardo, the superintendent of schools in Ascension Parish, said that the school board has no provisions to dismiss a teacher charged with attempted murder.  Evelena, 33, will remain on the job until she pleads guilty or is convicted of the charge.

Source: The (Baton Rouge) Advocate - Teacher Booked in Shooting Keeps Job

Most Pure Heart of Mary (Elementary) School, Mobile, Alabama

Thursday, October 6, 1988

Arilyn Jean Lelande, 29, invaded Angela Jean Brown's sixth-grade classroom today.  Arilyn pointed a handgun at the ten children around the 35-year-old teacher and told them to move back.  She then said, "I want my money," to the seated teacher.  Arilyn then fired several shots at Angela, hitting her at least once in the abdomen.  Angela was taken to the Mobile Infirmary where she was listed in serious but stable condition.  An hour later, police arrested Arilyn and charged her with first-degree assault.  This was not a case of mistaken identity or something like that, but of an ongoing domestic problem between Arilyn and Angela, who are sisters.  Most Pure Heart of Mary School is a Catholic parochial school.

Source: The Charlotte Observer - Teacher is Shot in Class; Lexington Herald-Leader - Teacher Shot in Classroom

Clayton B. Wire Elementary School, Sacramento, California

Sunday, October 9, 1988

Serrocko James Henry, 15, Edell Story, Jerry Wilson, and DeVon Johnson-Curry, all 12-years-old, were taking a shortcut through the schoolyard just after midnight.  They had left Serrocko's aunt's home to make a phone call and were returning to her home near the school.  On their way to the phone, Serrocko used a baseball bat to smash several windows at the school.  This tripped the school's burglar alarm.  When the alarm went off, police dispatched Deputy Jan P. Zeboski and Sacramento City Unified School District policeman Stanley P. Hong to investigate.  When they arrived, the 35-year-old deputy heard more glass breaking.  Edell was taking his turn breaking the windows of the school.  The two officers ran down an outside hallway toward the sound.  In a dimly lit intersection of two exterior hallways, Deputy Zebosoki and the four boys collided, Edell still carrying a baseball bat.  Jan fired one shot from his 9mm service gun at them.  The bullet struck down Serrocko, a Sacramento High School sophomore.  Serrocko died at the school with a bullet wound to his chest.  The other three boys were detained for questioning and then released to their parents. In the morning, detectives found half a dozen broken windows at the school and quickly boarded them up.  Three days later, Sheriff Glenn Craig said that Deputy Zeboski was within the policy of the department. Therefore the homicide was justifiable.

Source: Sacramento Bee - Boy Shot to Death by Deputy, Officer Was Responding to School Burglar Alarm; Sacramento Bee - 2 Stories in Fatal Run-in, Teen's Companions Differ From Deputy; San Francisco Chronicle - Deputy Cleared in Gun Death of 15-Year-Old Boy

Cooper High School, Abilene, Texas

Tuesday, November 22, 1988

Rick Maloney, a history teacher at Cooper High School, told 16-year-old Mason Staggs if he made a B on the midterm test, he would pass him. An indication he was failing history. And as we all know, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Mason had already failed the class once. Mason and a friend entered Rick’s history classroom today. After the bell rang at the end of class, most of the students left. Mason and his friend stayed behind. While the friend and Rick discussed a question, Mason pulled out a .22 caliber derringer. He shot Rick in the face, severely wounding him. After the shooting, Mason went to a nearby park. He went fishing and used marijuana. He was arrested. Rick survived this shooting and now teaches at the town's RAC (Re-Assignment Center for "troubled" kids). At his trial, Mason was found guilty and sentenced to 14 years in prison. That verdict was thrown out after he served seven years because the appeals court found that he had incorrectly been charged as an adult for the crime. Mason was retried in 1997. The second jury found he should serve ten years, meaning that he had less than two years left to serve. I strongly encourage you to watch Mason’s own account of this act of school violence and his life. This is the YouTube video of his testimony.

Source: Three visitors to this web site and a Survivor of this school shooting

Atlantic Shores Christian (High) School, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Friday, December 16, 1988

On Friday, Nicholas Elliott, 15, opened fire with a SWD Cobray M-11 semiautomatic pistol on teachers at his school. His first shots struck Algebra teacher Karen Farley in the arm; when she went down, he killed her at point blank range.  Nicholas then injured Sam Marino.  He turned the Cobray toward his classmates, but the gun jammed and he was quickly subdued by M. Hutchinson Matteson, a teacher before he could fire another round.  Nicholas is serving life in prison plus 114 years for this assault.


Karen Farley, 41


Sam Marion, 37

Cleveland Elementary School, Stockton, California

Tuesday, January 17, 1989

Patrick Edward Purdy, 26 (also listed as Patrick Eugene Purdy, 24, in some reports), was a loner and a drifter.  This morning he dressed in a shirt with emblazoned with the Iranian battle cry "Death to the Great Satin (sic), combat fatigues and a flak vest and then drove to Cleveland Elementary School, arriving just after 11:30.  He parked on the south side of the school and rigged his car to explode.  Then he grabbed two semiautomatic pistols and a fully automatic AK-47 assault rifle with a bayonet. He walked across a grassy area to the rear southwest corner of a portable building.  From here he could see about 400-500 first- through third-graders at recess on a 180-foot wide asphalt playground that was enclosed on two sides by an L-shaped building, about 250 feet away.  From here he opened fire on the children as they played. He started shooting at 11:40 a.m.  He sprayed the playground several times, then crossed behind the portable building to its southeast corner and continued to fire at the students.  After firing over 60 rounds, killing five students, wounding 29 other students and one second grade teacher and terrorizing everyone on the playground, Patrick put one of the pistols, a 9mm, to his head and committed suicide. 37-year-old Janet Geng, the only teacher wounded in this assault, was on playground duty, and she scrambled to get the kids down, out of the line of fire.  Her leg was shattered by Patrick's gunfire.  When police arrived, they noticed Patrick had named two of his guns.  On his Ak-47, he wrote the letters "SSA" in white paint.  One of the pistols had the word "victory" written on it as well. The school's student body is comprised mainly of children from Southeast Asia.


Sokhim An, 6

Ram Chun, 6

Oeun Lim, 8

Rathanan Or, 9

killer Patrick Purdy, 24

Thuy Tran, 6

Source: Dallas Morning News - Gunman Wounds 30 Before Taking Own Life; Dallas Morning News - From Tragedy, A Lesson in Courage; Modesto Bee - Students Conquer Fear to Return to School; San Jose Mercury News - Father Finds Lost Son's Body on New Killing Field; Modesto Bee - The "Why?" of Mass Murder

Raumanmeri Secondary School, Rauma, Finland

Tuesday, January 24, 1989

After being bullied to his limit, a 14-year-old boy shot and killed two of his classmates today.  It is unclear if the two students killed were the bullies, or just in the right spot at the wrong time.

Source: - List of School-Related Attacks

Woodrow Wilson High School, Washington, D. C.

Thursday, January 26, 1989

Two young men who don't attend Woodrow Wilson High School began arguing with the students in the cafeteria this afternoon.  A few hours later, about 2:30, the two young men returned in a four-wheel drive vehicle, stepped out and started shooting at the students.  Tyrone Whitfield was shot in both his legs, Kofi Martinez was shot in the right leg, as was Jamal Smith and Lazaro Santa Cruz was shot in the lip.  All four students were taken to Children's Hospital for treatment.  The next day, police arrested 18-year-old Rodney Reardon and charged him with four counts of assault to kill.  They are still looking for his accomplice.


Lazaro Santa Cruz, 16

Kofi Martinez, 17

Jamal Smith, 17

Tyrone Whitfield, 18

Source: San Jose Mercury News - 18-Year-Old Arrested in School Shooting

A. Maceo Smith High School, Dallas, Texas

Wednesday, April 26, 1989

Just before classes started this morning, several students were gathered in the courtyard of A. Maceo Smith when a blue Camaro pulled up with three male students from South Oak Cliff High School inside.  Jerry Henderson, 18, got out of the Camaro carrying a briefcase and a .22-caliber revolver behind it.  He walked up to where 16-year-old Jerome Lacy and his friends were standing. Jerry and Jerome spoke about one of Jerry’s female cousins. At some point in the conversation, Jerry said, "You all better get out of the way - I'm going to shoot him." Jerry fired off five shots at Jerome, one of the bullets hit Jerome’s lip. Jerry retreated to the Camaro and left the scene. Latoya Perkins raised the alarm by shouting Jerome was bleeding. Other students took Jerome into the school where an ambulance and the authorities were dispatched. Jerry was convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and served time in the Texas state penitentiary.

Source: Dallas Morning News - Campus Violence / Intruder Shoots High School Student; Visitor to this site

Shawnee High School, Medford, New Jersey

Tuesday, June 6, 1989

For months 18-year-old Phillip DeFelice, a senior and budding scientist, was taunted by his freshman schoolmates.  They derided him as a nerd.  Phillip planned his revenge and devised a devious plan.  Sunday night Phillip stole materials from the school's metal shop and began making a bomb.  A friend had given him the gunpowder.  When it was completed, the bomb was a foot long, eight inches wide, had two batteries and a string to connect it to the door of a school locker.  Last night at a banquet at which he received a $500-a-year state scholarship, he slipped away and planted the bomb in the locker of 15-year-old Brian Kerfoot, one of his tormentors.  This morning, when Brian opened his locker, the bomb exploded but did not bring about Phillip's desired result.  Since the locker was purchased from the lowest bidder, the rivets failed to contain the blast.  The explosion went upward, not outward.  Brian received first- and second-degree burns on his face, arms, and neck.  He was treated at Memorial Hospital of Burlington County in Mount Holly.  Phillip was arrested and is charged with attempted aggravated arson, aggravated assault, second-degree burglary and possession of explosive devices.

Source: The Press of Atlantic City - Honors Student Taunted by Mates is Charged with Planting Bomb

University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Tuesday, July 25, 1989

25-year-old Azizolla Mazooni is a deserter from the Iranian army.  He entered the US illegally several years ago.  He found a home in Sacramento and a girlfriend in 18-year-old Marjan Mohseninia.  The relationship floundered, and Marjan enrolled in the University of Washington just to get away from Azizolla.  He hired private detectives and found that Marjan not only moved to Seattle but also had a strong friendship with 27-year-old Ebrahim Sharif-Kashani. Azizolla made the trip from Sacramento to Seattle and found Marjan and Ebrahim walking near Balmer Hall today.  He confronted them and tried to leave the campus with Marjan, but Ebrahim tried to stop him.  Azizolla pulled out a gun and fired five warning shots into the ground at Ebrahim, but he kept coming.  He fired the next two shots into Ebrahim, killing him.  He then fired four more shots into Marjan, killing her as well.  A police officer was nearby and was able to apprehend Azizolla soon after the double murder.  On May 30, 1990, a jury found Azizolla guilty of second-degree murder.  After serving his time in prison, Azizolla will be deported from the United States.

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer - Jilted Boyfriend is Found Guilty 2 Slayings at UW

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